“The late nights are worth it. Our board and students involved would agree that the clinic is a valuable opportunity we have at Campbell Medicine,” said Muller. “We love our patients, some of whom we’ve become very close to after seeing them many times throughout the year.
The program is so popular among students that they usually only get the chance to be in the clinic once each semester.
“To have an opportunity such as this in the first years of medical school is unlike any other school. We’re seeing real patients, taking histories, doing physical exams, coming up with assessments and plans, presenting to an attending, writing prescriptions, choosing what labs to run…It’s preparing us for a positive clinical rotation learning these skills so early on,” Muller said.
As medical students, they attend lectures on medical malpractice that serve as a reminder that mistakes can be costly and even fatal. “We assume that to make a mistake is to fail. But this is a misguided assumption. We’re human. We’re students, and we’re still learning,” said Muller. “Working at the clinic under an attending physician provides a safe environment to be put on the spot, learn why we were wrong, correct our mistake and re
main diligent to ensure that mistakes are not being made. If they are, we make sure they have been handled appropriately with the attending supervision,” said Murphy.
As for the patients, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. “They’re very appreciative, they are very happy to have us,” Murphy said. “They rely on us to receive health care. Because we offer everything free it’s a plus for them.”
In just three years of the clinic operating, students have saved Harnett County nearly $400,000 with the services provided. Once a patient has been to the clinic, they’re able to return and be treated as if it were any other doctor’s office. Though, one of the challenges faced by the clinic is the ability to accept new patients.
With the current limitations of space — the clinic uses the Campbell University Health Center — and only seeing patients one day a week, the challenge comes when trying to schedule patients. “It’s getting new patients in while serving our returning patients … and make sure they can be seen in an appropriate time,” Murphy said.
Both of those problems could be minimized if a prospective new location for the clinic comes to fruition. The new site could be part of what the students hope will be a multifaceted health care clinic.
A patient who was recently seen states, “I had to wait, but I understand being the need is great. I had such a dynamic team from the beginning to end; they kept attentive care to my need and focused on my pain and trying to target certain triggers, providing an educational experience for myself. I can also say I felt the relief from the treatment.”
Muller continued, “Part of our mission here at Campbell is serving the rural and underserved areas; at the clinic, we’ve been able to fulfill that by connecting with our rural communities.”