Big picture view of health care setting

Georgia Michalovic ’18 interns at Good Neighbor Health Clinic

Interned with: Good Neighbor Health Clinic
Supported by: The Blakely Fetridge Bundy ’66 Work and Learning Fellowship
Major: Biology

Gaining experience, giving back: “I interned at Good Neighbor Health Clinic (GNHC) to gain exposure to the medical field as well as give back to my community. GNHC provides health care for uninsured and underinsured individuals throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. By spending time at the clinic, I experienced a unique community care setting where patients, providers and administrators work collaboratively to overcome economic and social barriers to improving and maintaining health.”

Clinical duties: “I worked on two main projects for GNHC: Organizing and distributing pamphlets for Ladies First, a program run by the state of Vermont that provides funding for specialty women’s health screenings and resources, and conducting preliminary patient contact to expand the weekly diabetes clinic. For the diabetes clinic, I used Good Neighbor’s database to gather information on patient demographics and collated a list of individuals who could be reached out to re-enroll in the clinic.”

Patient point of contact: “I greeted patients, organized paperwork and communicated with providers about the expected flow of their appointments. At four different clinics, I shadowed various providers, taking heart rates and blood pressures. I gained nearly 20 hours of patient contact hours and the opportunity to observe providers’ mannerisms and problem-solving skills.”

Learning through observing: “I learned about the importance of observation—both in listening to what patients have to say and through watching their body language as they communicate and receive treatment. At Good Neighbor, the majority of patients come from low-income households or are non-English speakers. These populations have lower health literacy, and providers must be sensitive to this, explaining the course of treatment in understandable language and navigating language barriers when appropriate.”

A plethora of opportunities: “I was surprised by and grateful for how many opportunities the volunteer doctors gave me in shadowing during their clinics. Good Neighbor works closely with medical students from Dartmouth College and, while ordinarily they do not offer these types of opportunities to undergraduates, the timing of Wheaton’s winternship program allowed me to fill the void left by the medical students during the holiday break.”

Healing on the job: “During one clinic, I saw a provider literally jump for joy when a patient of hers returned to the clinic with cleared symptoms from an invasive psoriasis rash. The patient’s hands had been in debilitating discomfort and, with the help of reduced prescription drug costs—made possible by GNHC—the patient was able to treat their psoriasis effectively and return to work pain-free within a couple of weeks.”

Ready for anything: “My long-term plan is to apply to medical school and pursue a career in primary health care. However, I am sure my path may change along the way, so in the meantime I am trying to focus on having a flexible vision of myself. My time at Good Neighbor provided me with an array of experiences from clinical patient interactions to managerial and administrative work. I am thankful for this because I know that the experiences I had at GNHC will serve me regardless of the step I choose to take next.”

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