Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Do You See?

Never before has an experience touched my life as deeply as my experience as an intern at Crossroad Health Center. I have learned many important lessons during my time here, but the most important lesson has been seeing a person for who they truly are. Only when we allow ourselves to open our hearts to our fellow man can we truly reflect on the amazing qualities of each and every person around us.
Over my time at Crossroad, I have been blessed to have many patient interactions. I have met the middle schooler who took two city buses all alone through dangerous areas just to make an appointment; the single mother with two jobs taking online college classes and raising four children; and the man battling financial debt and numerous health ailments. The common bond connecting all of these situations is strength. By opening my heart, I realized the strength that each of these patients possess.
When a patient walks through our doors, I don’t see just another patient or another task to be completed in the cog of the healthcare machine. I see an amazing person reaching out for help, care, kindness, and compassion. When I work with my fellow staff members, I see amazing people offering help, care, kindness, and compassion. Every day I am surrounded by outstanding people who are strong; maybe stronger than I will ever be.
Every shift as an intern at Crossroad Health Center contains profound lessons about life.  I find myself appreciating others, seeing the good in all, and understanding the importance of compassion.  I have received so many blessings from this wonderful opportunity, and it has deepened my connection with my fellow man.  My experiences and relationships with patients and staff members have opened my heart wider, expanded my soul, and enhanced my life.

-Evan Franz

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Patient-Centered Medical Home

“Crossroad is the only place I go that has doctors who actually care about how I’m doing”

This was a direct quote from a patient I spoke with during my last shift. After just over six months with the Crossroad Volunteer Internship Program, I can honestly say that his statement is a perfect depiction of Crossroad Health Center. Crossroad Health Center is a Patient-Centered Medical Home, but what does that really mean? 

In my opinion, the patient was spot on. Crossroad Health Center is a place where the doctors and staff have the patient’s overall health and wellbeing in mind. Every week when I go in to work, I find out about a different service that Crossroad offers their patients. From regular, yearly doctor visits to visits with the diabetic specialist or one of the psychiatrists, there is someone on staff who can handle whatever issue a patient is dealing with and who wants to take the time to make sure the patient leaves feeling better about whatever it is. As interested as I am in seeing the different illnesses or problems that patients are facing, I am equally as amazed by how Crossroad always has a service to deal with the problems. This hands on, holistic approach to patient care has certainly affected me as a volunteer. 

Crossroad has instilled in me a desire to see to it that patients are taken care of beyond just getting in and out of their exam room. Few other doctor’s offices will call patients’ homes to ensure that they were able to schedule appointments for the referrals that were made for them at their last appointment. It was through making these referral calls and working in the Pre-Visit Planning Room that I have learned how to interact with patients one on one. For all of the amazing medical practices I have seen and all of the new medical illnesses and procedures I have been introduced to, I have gained just as much knowledge about how to treat people that come in to the doctor’s office. 

Crossroad serves as a constant reminder to me of why I want to go into the medical field. I have seen numerous patients come in to the office who have completely given up on their health. But just because they have, it does not mean the providers or the staff has. Not a week has gone by that I have not been impressed by Crossroad’s dedication to their patients. I know how cliché it is to say that a person becomes a doctor “to help people”, but that is exactly what Crossroad Health Center does. People are getting the medical attention they need and they are seeing changes in their health because of this place. It is rare that someone gets the opportunity to be a part of a place so amazing. I am so grateful that I have been able to return to Crossroad every week and continue to learn more and more about the inner workings of a true Patient-Centered Medical Home.

-Katie Woebkenberg

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Importance of Listening

One of the major lessons I have taken away from my time at Crossroads is the importance of listening. The staff at Crossroads always seems to make time to really listen to their patients even when they are very busy. When I talk to patients on the phone, I come across many patients who are angry and frustrated because they feel like they aren’t being listened to. I think a big part of this perception is that patients and doctors often have different priorities when it comes to a patient’s health.


Many of the patients at Crossroad have multiple chronic conditions and medication lists that are multiple pages long. The providers only have so much time to spend with a patient and have to pick and choose what issues are the most important to talk about at each visit. This can be made difficult when the patients bring an equally long list of their own concerns. The physicians I have shadowed have done an excellent job of balancing their time with the patients so they can address what they need to, but also address their patients’ concerns. This allows patients to leave Crossroad feeling taken care of.


I think another reason patients can feel like they aren’t being listened to is when they don’t fully understand why a physician is focused on a certain aspect of their health. If a patient doesn’t entirely understand a condition it can seem less troublesome than one they do understand and they may feel like the physician is focusing on the wrong thing. The providers at Crossroad not only take the time to listen, but to explain. I hear a lot “I am worried about this because…” and then watch the doctor get the patient on the same page. Understanding their conditions not only allows patients to understand why doctors focus on what they do but it also empowers patients to take control of their health.


One thing I enjoy about being an intern is that I have more time to spend with a patient on the phone if needed. Sometimes patients need to talk for a while just to feel heard, and then there is a simple fix to the problem. It is satisfying when I can help a patient with one of these problems and they realize that I am on their side. I have been inspired by the physicians at Crossroads to always make sure I take the time to listen to my patients and make them feel cared for in my future as a physician.

-Katie Copp

Friday, September 26, 2014

Considering The Whole Person

On my first day as an intern, I met a patient who has stuck in my memory ever since. He was a middle-aged man in torn up jeans and a windbreaker stuffed with grocery bags, unsuitable clothing for the frigid January weather. While sifting through an overflowing bag that held the man’s prescriptions, the doctor explained that the man was illiterate and needed help managing all his medications. From my very first day at the clinic, I have been surprised to find that severe social and health disparities not only exist, but also that they have always been so close. I have learned many lessons in compassion and understanding through direct interaction with the underserved members of my community, but I have also learned a great deal about the process of administering health care. This process has become very apparent to me through my participation with the Tobacco Treatment Group.

I have learned a great deal from being an active member of the group, but perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that a patient’s health is dependent on every aspect of their life. For the majority of patients, quitting smoking is not the only challenge that they are facing. Patients grapple with depression, drug and alcohol abuse, family issues, financial issues, and many others. All these struggles accumulate to affect the patients’ health. I have learned that all the challenges these patients face must be identified and addressed in order to move the patient toward better health.

Another essential aspect to this process is the patient-provider relationship. In my shadowing experiences, I have learned that in order to provide the most comprehensive health care, the providers must work very hard to build a relationship with their patients. This has led me to conclude the most efficient delivery of health care occurs when the patients can trust their provider and when the provider knows enough about the patient to be able to consider all the aspects of the patients’ lives that contribute to their mental and physical well-being. My work at the clinic has exposed me to the many social barriers to health that exist for the members of Over-The-Rhine. It has also taught me a great deal about the best ways to overcome these barriers. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to Crossroad’s important mission.

-James Kelly