Volunteer: Jaclyn Klimczak

Volunteer
  • During:

    2013

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Bicol Clinic Foundation, Inc.
Philippines, 2013

I had no idea what to expect when I got on the plane and embarked on my trip with the Bicol Clinic Foundation to the other side of the world. You can take classes, and watch documentaries on medical mission trips on what they are about, what you may see and the things that you may do, but nothing compares to the actual experience. I for one have never done a medical mission trip, mind you travel to such a far and remote location to participate in one, and yet I can look back and say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. The Filipino culture and communities are made up of some of the most incredible people that left an impression that I'll carry on with me for the rest of my life. The level of poverty that most of the people live in was eye opening and yet they were incredibly accepting, appreciative and overall just some of the happiest people you will ever meet. We were housed in a small dormitory overlooking the most beautiful bay and Volcano, fed the freshest and most delicious Filipino cuisine (I have never had such delicious Mangos in my life) and made some of the greatest friendships with the students and professionals in our group. The country itself was unbelievable to see and explore, and the excursions that we were taken on from hot and cold springs to hiking a volcano were opportunities many never get to experience in their life. In terms of education, it was probably one of the best clinical experiences, filled with great exposure to the art of medicine, practicing H&P's, creating SOAP notes and developing a flow to treating and taking care of patients. We got to partake in small surgeries and proper wound care, and were taught the art of suturing. The patients that we saw and cared for present with conditions that are far few and in between in the US, and allowed me to take the medical education I have thus far received and gave me a chance to apply it and see it in real clinical situations. I left feeling comfortable taking history and physicals, giving shots, doing small procedures and just getting into the role of being a doctor. Personally this is the best experience one could ask for, especially as a medical student. It makes you think outside of the box and get comfortable relying on your own knowledge and skill set instead of technology and expensive testing. Even outside of the medical aspects, and experiences that we got to partake in that will strengthen our skillset and knowledge, as a person I left with a different perspective. I found a love in not just medicine but global health and look forward to embarking on another opportunity to travel and do a medical mission. Dr. Schuster and his family made the journey that much more incredible, and it was an honor to practice and learn under such an amazing mentor. Best of all this experience makes me really realize how much I love medicine, and how I look forward to what I'll get to do each and everyday in my future career as a physician.

Jaclyn Klimczak
Florida Atlantic 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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