Volunteer: Kay L. James

Volunteer
  • During:

    2011

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Bicol Clinic Foundation, Inc.
Philippines, 2011

My life as a first year medical student quickly turned into a race to fit esoteric packets of information into my brain at least as rapidly and as well as my classmates. By the end of it, I found myself lost in the textbooks and exams, forgetting why I entered medicine in the first place. While I loved school and enjoyed what I was learning, I was very worried that I was losing my identity. I am not exaggerating when I say that BCF saved me from myself both professionally and personally.

BCF provides a safe and supportive - albeit exotic and challenging - environment in which to begin the practical application of my pre-clinical education. The hands-on clinical experience allowed me to begin making connections which I wouldn't have been able to make until my 3rd year or later. The opportunity to work in a diverse team composed of medical students, nursing students, interpreters, nurses, and doctors of varying backgrounds and levels of experiences was good practice for my future, especially giving the changes in the delivery of primary care which emphasize the healthcare team rather than the solo doctor. Moreover, I couldn't have hand-picked better teachers. Dr. Schuster, in particular, is an inspiration. He is an extremely knowledgeable, patient, and approachable physician who leads by example. He provided an excellent role-model who helped me realize that it is possible for Doctors to be well-rounded individuals, and reinvigorated my drive to maintain those important parts of my person that make me unique.

There was the perfect balance between hard work and down time. I felt sufficiently challenged, but not overwhelmed. We had plenty of time to enjoy excursions into the area and to get to know each other and some of the local Filipinos.

When people ask me about the trip, I tell them it was one of the best decisions of my life. It renewed my enthusiasm for medicine and I strongly believe that I will be a stronger healthcare provider from it. I've done my best to describe this experience, but honestly I think it's impossible to do it verbal justice. I didn't know if was possible for any experience to be so consistently and extraordinarily positive. Even after this summer, I know that BCF will continue to be an important part of my life.

Kay L. James
Tulane University
Medical Student

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BCF has dispatched more than 100 medical students, in addition to dozens of American and foreign physicians and nurses, to provide care to more than 14,000 patients in the Philippines, Nepal and Haiti, many of whom had never before seen a physician. Our team members also volunteer in orphanages and schools to extend health care to other aspects of life. We’d love for you to be Part of the Start!

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