Harford Community College nursing students Stacie Fales, Anne Kibocho, Teresia Muthoga, and Erin Rodriguez accompanied Professor of Nursing and Allied Health Professions Madelyn Danner to participate in a Remote Area Medical experience in Gloucester, Virginia in early November. The clinic provided free dental, vision, and medical care to the uninsured and underinsured in the area. The HCC students served patients in the dental clinic and the triage intake areas, caring for people of all ages.

The number of people seen is based on the number of volunteers at the clinic that day, so not everyone can be seen who requests care. During their conversations with patients in these areas, students heard many stories of people who were in need of care because of job loss, jobs that did not offer benefits, or loss of the spouse who held the benefits for the family. They were stunned at the number of people lining the hallways and packing the clinic waiting for care, and found it hard to comprehend that people had waited in the parking lot since the night before the clinic opened in hopes of receiving care.

Students were affected by the outlook of the people with whom they interacted, their gratitude and their positive perspective despite their circumstances. A student who observed a patient look in a mirror and exclaim “I can smile again!” after being seen in the dental clinic felt rewarded that she had played a small part in the person’s happiness. Another student said, “I will never again take for granted having access to health care.”

All of the students at this clinic, and those who have accompanied Professor Danner to RAM clinics in the past, agree that this service was a valuable learning experience, opening their eyes to needs they had not previously known existed. As a result of their experience, some students have continued to volunteer with RAM after graduation. Student Stacie Fales, who participated in last month’s experience, has signed up to volunteer for two additional RAM clinics.

Professor Madelyn Danner was recently selected to receive the Maryland Nurses Association’s Outstanding Nursing Educator Award for 2018.

Pictured by the truck: Erin Rodriguez, Stacie Fales, Madelyn Danner, Theresia Muthoga, and Anne Kibocho.