Finding My Place

Life as a PHCer is a unique one.  We are stuck at the in between at our sites.  We are not employees, but not quite volunteers.  We provide a much needed service to the members of the Philadelphia community, and all though we may not always feel fully appreciated, if we take a step back we know that as a PHCer, our value is recognized by staff and patients alike.

The experience is invaluable.  There are so many aspects of the healthcare system that reading in a book, magazine, or watching “House,” cannot begin to describe until you have lived it for an extended period of time.  In my position as a Philadelphia HealthCorps member I am able to see and appreciate the inner workings of a health center.  I am able to see the communication necessary between various medical  personnel, from doctors to nurses to clerks.  Every aspect of communication is vital and one weak link can cause big problems for the patient.  This is especially important for me to see and learn early because I am going to medical school in a couple of months.

In addition to the inner workings of a health center my position allows me to get to know pharmaceutical companies, and the importance of health insurance.  I now have a true appreciation for the importance of health insurance and for clinics like the ones set up in Philadelphia that literally save thousands of lives daily simply by existing.  This position highlights the fact that our health system is seriously flawed, and needs to be altered.  At the same time it allows others and myself in the Prescription Assistance Program position to really make a difference in a number of people’s lives on a daily basis.

This job can definitely get monotonous at times, but there are always patients there to remind you how appreciated you are at exactly the time you need a boost.  At times you can even act as a patient advisor when the patient seems to be confused and in need of consulting.  For myself, this position is perfect.  I am able to provide a service to a community in need during my year off before I begin medical school, and I am being educated in the area of my future profession.

-Zach Coppola, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

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