Project Access: The First Few Days

30 05 2010

Hey Everyone! After a busy first week at Project Access of Durham County, I can officially say that I’ve enrolled my first patient! This is particularly exciting because during the interview I managed to 1) subtract 1984 from 2010 wrong (the patient had to do the math for me) and 2) delete everything I’d written on a form, and had to start the interview over. Overall, though, I’d say the week was a success—hopefully I’ll be able to relax a bit more when I interview patients next week J

One thing of learned this week: PADC is not for the faint-hearted. No sireee. The staff at is constantly on their feet, calling patients, arranging medical appointments, and meeting patients in the office. No wonder the coffee machine is always stocked. In the four days I was in the office, I did all of these things (with supervision, naturally), and learned to process patient referrals. My supervisor, Sally, even took me on a tour of the local clinics that serve low-income, uninsured patients—Lincoln, the Early Intervention Program for HIV, Lyon Park Clinic, Walltown Clinic, and Holton Clinic. It’s been a productive and eye-opening week if I do say so myself!

But despite the fact that I’m slowly getting better at doing these things, I couldn’t help but feel unqualified interacting with patients. I mean, I’ve taken a few Global Health classes and done some background research about access to health care and insurance, but does that really make me qualified to handle such personal information and interview patients for the program? It feels almost…wrong for me to be sitting on the other side of the desk (the one with the big comfy chair) that is normally reserved for someone who’s an expert. Then again, the only way to get experience is to be in that comfy chair. Hmm. Just a thought.

Something else I was mulling over this week had to do with one of the first patients I spoke with by phone. He was a married father of two and I was notifying him of a doctor’s appointment that I’d arranged for him. Ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have remembered this patient, but I glanced at his referral information and realized that he was only two years older than me. It’s a little difficult to wrap my head around how different our lives are, and that at one point, maybe three or four years ago or so, we were peers. Unlike him, I still feel very much like a kid, very much incapable of taking care of someone else, particularly a child; while he works to support a family, I finish essays and problem sets. It seems to me almost paradoxical that we belong to the same age group when our “actual” ages are so different.

Again, just a thought.

Next week I’ll continue learning the ropes at PADC and hopefully enrolling more patients (with supervision, don’t worry). See you soon!

– Kelly Hu




One response

22 06 2010

Hi Kelly! How has your project been going lately? Know that practice makes perfect, and I’m sure you are doing a great job, and are learning so much about the need here in Durham and about yourself in the process. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts in coming weeks!

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