My name is Keenan Rosado and I’m a physician’s assistant student doing my family medicine and women’s health clinical rotation at the Shifa Free Clinic. Our clinic rotations are usually five weeks long. but because it counts for two rotations for me, I’m there for 10 weeks. I’ve been there for the last eight weeks. On average we see around 20 to 25 patients a day.
I found that they [the mental health training sessions] had a lot of good suggestions, just generally on reducing stress in your life and taking time out for yourself, making sure to remember to take care of your mental health and well-being as well — little things like breathing exercises and taking a moment when you’re very stressed out in life that can help really reduce the stress that you’re having from day to day.
I feel like I apply it [the mental health training] every day. I feel like – the Shifa Clinic is a very busy clinic, so sometimes I just need to take a moment and take a few breaths. I try to go into a quiet room for just a few seconds and then just take a few deep breaths. I think the exercise she showed us was in for four seconds, hold it and then out for four seconds or eight seconds. I’ve used that pretty regularly and it does help.
Part of the free clinic is that there’s not a lot of extra services, so we don’t have a lot of extra support. So if you were in a doctor’s office, you would have a separate person or group of people that would be doing those kinds of things for you, whether it be extra administrative work or lab testing or blood draws or dispensing medications. So, a lot of times it can feel overwhelming, especially when you have to do that for multiple patients and multiple people. And so sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to keep everything straight and trying to do everything correctly. And so sometimes I just have to stop myself from stressing out and just take a moment.
When you’re a younger practitioner, when you’re just going out of school, you’re you want to go above and beyond for every patient. You want to do everything you can, and sometimes that’s not as feasible, but it also will burn you out quickly. And it’s important to stop and take a moment to make sure that your own mental health is well, because if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of patients.
I feel like it [mental health training] should be a part of everyone’s education because I think it it’s helpful. And I think it’s good to remind people to really take care of themselves because also, just, I was thinking it’s, it’s things that can apply to your clinical practice as well towards patients, because it’s good to remind them to take care of their mental health just as much as it is for you to take care of.
I feel like that, especially with everything that has been going on in the world recently in the last year or two, it’s easy to forget that people are still dealing with the stress of these situations.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to experience it. And I will take this probably with me for the rest of my life.
Physician’s Assistant Student
Shifa Free Clinic
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina