Snow Days!

Snow is not a normal occurrence here in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s been fun to have that One Big Snowstorm of the season this past weekend. Growing up in MN, I often find PNW winters a challenge…so much grey and so little snow! I also forget how much I miss it until it snows…and then I’m itching to break out the snowshoes, build a snow woman and drink lots of hot chocolate. Yes, I know, the pay-off is beautiful green forests in January…but every now and then it’s nice to have that magical winter wonderland.

Of course, one would think that with a five-day weekend that I would be way ahead in school work. Ha! Between the Olympics, soaking in some witty advice, and getting sucked into a totally ridiculous but fun tower defense game, I can’t say much work got done. A mid-term snow-cation was just what I needed to rest up for the second-half of the term.

That said, I’m really enjoying this term. We’re focusing on population-based nursing care…which is to say, less on individual patient care and more on policy-level and systemic change. I’m loving it. My clinical this term is in a FQHC, where we’re shadowing nurses and NP’s/PA’s to observe clinic flow. We’re helping the staff assess clinic flow and offering educational resources for their patients who are newly enrolled on Medicaid or have health insurance through an exchange for the first time.

My small group is also helping the clinic to implement the One Key Question initiative, which asks all women if they want to become pregnant in the next year. It’s both a simple, yet complicated thing to add a new question to clinic protocol. There’s the issue of timing: when in the clinic flow does the question get asked? By whom? And what’s the follow-up? What resources does the clinic (which is not a Title X clinic) have in terms of contraception, or prenatal care, or…?

It’s been an eye-opening experience to help the clinic integrate this new change into their process, especially when there’s already so much going on with the influx of newly-insured patients. But the truth is, I absolutely love it. I love seeing NP’s practicing at the top of their license. I love seeing how respected and deeply integral Community Health Workers are to this clinic’s mission of improving the health of their neighborhood. I love hearing Spanish every day. I love witnessing people’s first experience with a primary care provider, who despite the challenges of limited time and resources, still manage to listen deeply for the stories behind the stories.

It’s all just a taste of things to come…

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