In case you missed it, here’s a brief wrap-up of all the stories we published over the last week or so about the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise, Va. 240 volunteers from UVA traveled to the southwest portion of the state to provide free medical care at the three-day event.
240 UVA employees, nursing and medical students are volunteering at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise, Va., this week. We’re talking to some of them and sharing their stories. Betty Jenkins is a registered nurse in the operating room at Culpeper Regional Hospital, UVA’s partner hospital.
What have you been doing today?
I’ve worked in the dental area taking care of patients. I make sure that their blood pressures and blood sugars are in a good range before they have oral surgery, mostly extractions.
What treatments can dental patients get at RAM?
Many patients are getting cleanings and fillings or restorations. This area is extractions and oral surgery.
I think the patients have gotten really good care, even though the event is all run by volunteers. Every practitioner that’s here really wants to be here, and I think they get a lot of fulfillment out of it. They strive to give really good care.
Do you have any patient stories you can share?
I was really touched by this lady who took the time to tell me how much she appreciated this service and the volunteers. She wasn’t the only person, but she took her time to stop in the midst of things and say how much she appreciated it. It was very touching.
240 UVA employees, nursing and medical students are volunteering at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise, Va., this week. We’re talking to some of them and sharing their stories. Robbbyrda Preston and Charlotte Graham work in patient access at UVA.
What did you do today?
Robbbyrda: At RAM, we register patients into the hospital system. By doing that, we establish an account number and a medical record number that’ll link to the patient’s clinical data. It goes into our electronic medical record system for lab results, or radiology or other tests.
What are the advantages to that?
Charlotte: We can use that medical record number here even at RAM to see what’s going on with patients. If a UVA doctor sees them, then that information is in our clinical system. So the doctor could say, “OK, today his lab work looks like this. Is that normal or abnormal for this patient?”
Robbbyrda: And right now, we’re registering a patient to try to get him seen before the clinic closes for the day.
Did things go smoothly?
Robbbyrda: We did have some problems. The internet provider went down, so for about five hours, we had to register without computers and put everything on paper. That means later we’ll have to go back and put it all in the system using a much longer process.
Charlotte: But it’s back up. We’ve got about 75 or 80 percent of the patients back into the system. We finished off the afternoon registering into the system, and we can use it tomorrow morning and finish entering today’s patients.
240 UVA employees, nursing and medical students are volunteering at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise, Va., this week. We’re talking to some of them and sharing their stories. Ellen Shields is a registered nurse at UVA. We caught up with her around 1 p.m. today.
What is your job at RAM?
I’m the leader of the blue team. We see endocrinology patients, including people with diabetes, and other people with high cholesterol and hypertension. We have a diabetes coordinator, patient educator and a social worker. There are 20, maybe 22 of us altogether, between the medical students and the nursing students, all the helpers.
What’s your job like as the leader?
Part of my role is keeping the flow going. I make sure every patient that comes in gets assigned a doctor or medical student. We put them into a room and make them comfortable. I’m making sure that the flow continues, and we keep moving because we have so many patients.
How’s today been going so far?
We’ve been busy. Really busy.
Were there any patients who stood out to you?
We already sent two patients to the emergency tent as they came in. Their symptoms required that. And there are just a lot of really nice people here who are trying to get some assistance.
Megan Rowe is an administrative programs coordinator at UVA. This is her third year volunteering at RAM.
Megan (left) with the patient registration team at the 2010 RAM clinic
Once a year, I get lost for three days. I forget that I have a mortgage payment, pets who like to eat every day, a Facebook account. I don’t think about my family and friends (I hope they’re not reading this) or my relatively trivial health concerns.
This is what it’s like to volunteer at the Wise Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in southwest Virginia. Thousands of people flood this quiet town over a steamy July weekend seeking free medical, dental and vision care. A couple thousand more come to volunteer. A few come for both. (more…)
This weekend, 240 UVA employees, nursing and medical students are volunteering at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Wise, Va. We’ll be talking to some of them and sharing their stories with you.
Last week, we met with Nosheen Reza, a fourth-year medical student, as she reviewed the clinical skills she’ll need at the clinic. This is Nosheen’s first year volunteering at RAM, but she grew up in Wise.
What inspired you to volunteer at RAM?
Being from Wise. I’ve lived there since I was five, and my father is a physician there. I’ve gone to my dad’s clinic and seen his patients, and I volunteered at hospitals in the area when I was growing up. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone.
When I decided to pursue medicine as well, I realized I could give back to where I came from.
How is working in healthcare in southwest Virginia different from Charlottesville?
Some of the health challenges are the same. We see the same conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, here.
But I think one of the most challenging things is overcoming the economic and social barriers to health care that may be more prevalent in that part of the state. People just don’t have access to specialists and don’t really know how to get connected into the system. I feel like being in Charlottesville is easier because everyone knows that UVA is here.
What will you do while you’re volunteering?
I signed up to get a variety of experiences. I’m hoping to interview patients and get their stories. I also want to practice the skills that I’ve learned in medical school so far.
I’ll be seeing women’s health patients one day, doing cardiology and GI a couple of other days, and the emergency tent another day, so we’ll see what surprises await.
Early Friday morning, hundreds of people will line up in the parking lot of a fairground in southwest Virginia, anxious to see a doctor or dentist as soon as possible. Nearby, 240 UVA volunteers will wake up in dorm rooms hundreds of miles from home, eager to provide free medical care.
The event is the annual three-day Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise, Va., which offers free medical, dental and vision care. The Health Wagon, a nonprofit health care provider in southwest Virginia, organizes the event, and thousands of volunteers from all over Virginia make it happen. UVA provides medical services at the clinic, while volunteers from other organizations provide dental and vision care.
UVA volunteers usually make the six-hour drive from Charlottesville to Wise on Thursday and stay in dorms at UVA’s College at Wise.
The clinic is from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 a.m.-noon Sunday. Last year, RAM volunteers treated 2,347 patients during those 30 hours, including almost 1,300 who received medical services from UVA volunteers. (more…)
Gracie watches as Abbey performs a stop, drop and roll trick for her.
Then Shaker, a 10-year-old Doberman pinscher, hops onto an exercise table where Gracie sits waiting. Gently, he eases up next to her and sniffs. Shaker is calm. Gracie smiles. With her mother’s instructions, Gracie lifts her hand to pet the quiet dog. First her right hand, then her left.
Shaker and Abbey are just two of UVA’s 10 pet therapy dogs. The dogs visit our pediatric patients at KCRC and in the hospital, and they’ll even visit adult patients by request. They are ambassadors, helping to soothe the children and make sometimes scary and stressful medical visits and hospital stays a little more normal.
Laurie Hanahan, Shaker’s owner and fellow hospital volunteer, says her dog loves visiting pediatric patients. “He’ll work the crowd,” she says.
Shaker's pet therapy dog trading card (click for larger image)
The Doberman, who considers cats his friends, even has a way of calming adults who might be a little scared of his breed. He nuzzles up to everyone he meets, making sure to get plenty of love and attention.
“Seeing the effect your dog has on a patient is so rewarding,” Hanahan says.
Karen Johnson, RN, the owner of Abbey the corgi, works at KCRC in pediatric orthopaedics. She’s been a pet therapy volunteer for almost 20 years, as long as UVA has had the program.
Johnson knows the difference the dogs make for young patients and their families. “The parents will give the dog a hug and take a couple of deep breaths because they’ve had a rough day or a rough drive over here,” she says.
Gracie’s mom, Elizabeth Hazelton of Richmond, says her daughter, who is in a wheelchair and has limited mobility, looks forward to seeing the pet therapy dogs and playing with them on her visits to KCRC.
“It makes it more enjoyable, more normal, and it makes Gracie happy,” she says. “She relaxes more.”
Hanahan, too, has witnessed the love her dog gives to everyone who meets him. She and Shaker visited one little girl who couldn’t move her hands. Shaker stuck his head under the girl’s arm so she could “pet” him.
The dogs are celebrities at UVA and the subjects of many photo-taking sessions. The staff thought trading cards would be a fun way to create special keepsakes for the kids. Patients can collect all of the cards, which include details about each dog’s hobbies, favorite treats and more. Abbey and Shaker are featured, along with a golden retriever, a Bernese mountain dog, a Newfoundland and others.
Kim Carson cuddles a preemie at UVA's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Kim Carson knows first hand how scary it can be to have a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (also called the NICU).
That’s why when our Baby Cuddler volunteer program started at UVA in 2009, she was one of the first to sign up. “It’s near and dear to my heart,” says Carson.
The cuddlers are volunteers in the NICU who hold, rock and cuddle some of our most fragile patients, providing human contact and soothing words. In fact, it’s not uncommon to watch a fussy baby calm down and fall asleep in a cuddler’s arms.
“Within moments after a baby is placed in a cuddler’s arms, they calm down,” says Susan Card, RN, who is the NICU’s Education Orientation Coordinator.
“We count the cuddlers as part of our team. Just as you give medication or physical therapy to meet a need, this is part of their [the babies] care,” says Card.
Research shows that a human touch enhances growth, improves health and helps babies, both premature and full-term, develop trusting relationships later in life.
“The volunteers just come with huge hearts,” says Kim Garofalo, Children’s Hospital Volunteer Coordinator.
Want to Volunteer at the Hospital?
Please note: This program is so popular that the NICU isn’t looking for additional baby cuddlers at this time.
But there are lots of other ways you can make a difference!
Contact Volunteer Services at 924.5251 to find out how.