My name is Jessica Luong and I am a rising junior BBMB major. This summer I have a unique opportunity to work as an intern at the SOS Clinic in College Place. This is a special clinic because we take all patients, regardless of their ability to pay or citizenship. It is truly a “no-questions-asked” clinic and is used by hundreds of patients and saves the state of Washington about $30,000 a year. A typical day at the clinic involves opening all 13 doors of the clinic, checking the fax machine for any lab results, calling to confirm patients, passing the phone to someone who can speak Spanish, checking patients in at the front desk, being the computer wizard for our medical professionals, sending in referrals to the hospital, scheduling patients for one of our specialty clinics, and occasionally shadowing providers and/or nurses. I also schedule providers, nurses, and volunteers to make the clinic happen! I initially was excited about this internship because I thought I was pre-med but I found myself more interested in healthcare from a public health perspective. It’s wonderful that SOS sees all patients and does everything it can to help people.
I have two main projects for the summer: to update the existing clinic website and develop a diabetes clinic for our patients. Our website is a little outdated and is sometimes difficult to use, both on our end and for our patients, so I’m currently attempting to move it to a new platform. I am having a mix of fun and frustration building a new website from scratch as I have never done it before. I’m just hoping that I don’t delete everything like I did last week and have to start over again. A diabetes clinic at SOS would be extremely helpful because many of our patients are diabetic and need support navigating it. In the past, we have attempted to refer them to a diabetes support group but it was held in English and that wasn’t useful to our Spanish-speaking patients. I am working on developing a new support group that will cater to our Spanish-speaking patients where they can share ideas about diet and lifestyle.
So far, I have had a great summer at SOS. It’s a great feeling to know that we are a clinic that provides services to people who really need the help. It’s fun getting to know patients and picking up a little Spanish here and there. I’ve definitely gained a massive appreciation for the front desk person at the doctor’s office. Making phone calls to patients who don’t love going to the doctor’s office is harder than it seems! Despite the difficulty, I’ve found myself to enjoy the small challenges that comes with interacting with different people every day and welcoming them into our clinic. If anyone needs a professional front desk lady, I’m sure I will be a little more trained at the end of the summer than when I started! Looking forward to the rest of the summer at the SOS Clinic!
Experiences like Jessica’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff