Welcome to WPC 2017

On this page, we will be recording our different experiences in the 2017 Whole Person Care Preceptorship. Feel free to browse through and see what we’ve been up to!

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Retreat in Arizona

The last three days of our preceptorship were spent in Phoenix, a time designed to allow us to have time to fellowship, reflect, and visit a Christian medical and dental clinic serving the uninsured inner-city population in Phoenix.

This was a really nice change of pace after five packed weeks of preceptorship activities. We reflected on the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19, showing God’s almighty faithfulness, but also how easy it is for us to lose faith and feel defeated even after great triumphs. We are aware of this risk, that Satan tries to attack after a spiritual victory, so we prayed that we would be able to continue strong in our individual lives after leaving the preceptorship.

We spent significant time reflecting about the preceptorship in the tranquil desert scenery. We reflected on Psalms 95-100, full of praise and adoration of God. We know that He worked in us and through us over the past five weeks.

Then we thanked Him for everything He did this summer. It was through His provision that this summer preceptorship was made possible, and it is for His glory as well. We asked God to give us guidance moving forward in the areas of personal growth, ministry, and integrating the Great Commission into our daily healthcare practice. We prayed for the courage and wisdom to know how He wants us to take the skills we learned here back to our campuses and workplaces for it to impact our lives and those around us in a meaningful way.

We also had time to meet in our small groups and share encouragement, as well as our concluding thoughts on the program. We offered constructive advice to our mentors on how to make the program even better for future years.

The highlight of our trip to Arizona was visiting a really cool clinic in downtown Phoenix. The clinic was started by a man who had a vision to serve others through medicine. Initially he thought he would go overseas to heal the sick and share the gospel, but he eventually found God leading him to serve the sick and poor right here in the United States. So he answered the invitation and started a clinic for the urban poor in Phoenix. It was a tough process and took many years for it to be approved, but the Neighborhood Christian Clinic in Phoenix now serves 10,000 patient visits a year operating from a budget comprised mostly of individual donations from people who want to see Jesus use their money to change lives!

The clinic is really cool–most of the workers there are selfless volunteers looking also to help others and share the love of Christ through healthcare. The clinic charges $30 for a patient visit and then gives the patient medication on-site. Due to the high patient need for elective surgery, the clinic is also looking to expand and provide additional healthcare services in more procedure-heavy specialties. Because their mission is to share the gospel and love of Christ, there are no magazines or TVs–instead, there are cards that address many different topics such as anxiety, church, fear, guilt, poverty, suffering from a Christian perspective. These cards are available for free reading and the patient can take them home to continue thinking about them and the Bible verses on the cards. They are in English and Spanish so the patients can be encouraged whether or not they are native English speakers.

At the end of our visit to the clinic, we shared a delicious authentic Mexican meal together family style. It was a joyful evening and reaffirmed many of our desires to serve God through compassionate healthcare ministry. We want to be Christians who happen to be healthcare providers, seeing patients with the same lens that Jesus saw the sick and the poor.

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Pre-professional Week!

On our fourth week of the preceptorship, pre-professional students with interests across the spectrum of healthcare fields (including pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, pre-nursing, pre-PA, pre-PT, pre-OT) came from all over the country to participate in a week of didactic and hands-on training in whole person care.

Each of us professional students was assigned to mentor one pre-professional student interested in the same field on the skills we have been learning and practicing. We taught them how to take a spiritual history in a way that champions patient autonomy. We taught them of the ethics of whole person care, including how it is advocated by the Joint Commission, and its many benefits for patients, the vast majority of whom desire for their healthcare providers to talk about spiritual issues while they are ill. And within the limitations of a healthcare setting, we talked about how to share stories of the gospel and Holy Spirit to those who are receptive.

In the afternoons, we took these lessons and applied them to real scenarios. We split up into groups of four (two preceptorship students and two pre-professional students) and headed for nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities across the Riverside/San Bernardino area to talk, share, and pray with patients. The stories we heard were incredible and a testament to God’s faithfulness when we are willing to accept His invitation. I got to share my belief in Jesus with a woman who was so sick that she could barely talk, and constantly had phlegm in her airway. We saw her again several times over the course of the week, and towards the end of the week, she expressed interest in learning more about Jesus herself, so we bought her a Bible for her to read during her stay. My pre-professional student was a natural–I was inspired by his compassionate heart when talking to patients, even those who had different views from us and used vulgar language. His sincerity and care for each of their lives reflected the love of Christ, and I think shone through to the patients’ hearts.

Many of the patients already had strong relationships with God, some were searching, some had hardened hearts with doubts and fears, but we felt like Jesus was with us in each patient encounter. In the end, our goal is meeting Jesus where He is already working. Some sow, some will reap the harvest, but we all partake in the beautiful pursuit Jesus gives to every lost soul.

By the end of the week, the pre-professional students were really sad to go. They formed strong friendships–I daresay even stronger than our own friendships after just a week! They said they stayed up every night talking and sharing life stories and already had four GroupMe chat groups to stay in touch after returning to their respective schools. God is good!

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Digital Outreach

On June 18th, Mariah Thomas, who is part staff and part participant in the preceptorship, talked with us about engaging in digital outreach. In a society where social media is used on a day to day basis, we often see it used in harmful ways but this week we learned how we can use it to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We were given a variety of different questions to help further a conversation with our friends on facebook and other social media accounts such as telling them about the Preceptorship and asking “what do you think about it”, “have you ever had spiritual care done by a physician”, “what would you think if a physician provided spiritual care”, “do you think it is ethical”, and the list goes on! We were also given other resources to use to reach out such as the online Knowing God Personally booklet which can be found at knowgod.com as well as the Falling Plates video posted here. The Falling Plates video has been proven to be a great video to kick start a conversation with our friends and family members. A few follow up questions after watching the video that could be used to help guide a conversation would be “which scene/image stuck out the most for you”, “why do you think that is”, and “what did you think of the question at the end that stated, will you follow me”.

Fun day – San Diego

This past Tuesday we took a break from our preceptorship to take a fun day in San Diego. With the awesome planning of social team, we took off in the morning to head to La Jolla, where we went ocean kayaking!

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It was a really fun time as we kayaked to an area with several caves and diverse beach wildlife. There, many of us hopped out of the kayaks (or flipped others’ kayaks) to take a swim in the blue ocean. From there, we headed to lunch at a locally well-known taco joint. The tacos were tasty and unique–after all, San Diego is right next to the Mexican border!

In the afternoon, we headed to nearby Coronado island for a bike tour. We took a leisurely bike ride around the island, stopping for many picturesque views. Here’s a couple of them:

 

We ended the day by getting some desserts at Extraordinary Desserts in downtown San Diego. Here’s a photo taken in downtown at sunset, capping off a really fun day of sunshine and fellowship!

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Small Groups!

After arriving in Redlands on our first evening, each of us involved here at the preceptorship were placed into a small group. Each small group meets two nights a week and is composed of 4-6 students and 2-3 mentors, one of which is involved with healthcare and the other may or may not be. The small groups are currently working through and discussing the book The Search for Significance written by Robert S. McGee. The book is written in a way that points out the lies the enemy feeds all of us on a day to day basis such as if you fail you aren’t good enough or that you won’t ever measure up… but the book then provides us with a way to combat those lies, by replacing them with God’s truth about ourselves— that we are loved, chosen, forgiven and so forth, helping to restore the joy we are meant to experience. Another part of our small groups is called Soul to Soul, this is basically your opportunity to tell your life story to the others within your group so that we may better understand one another and help to encourage each other within our walks with Christ. The first two small groups, each leader shared their story and then on Saturday June 17th, each small group got together for the students to share their stories, which was a great opportunity. It was really eye opening to hear where everyone was coming from in their lives and how God has lead each of us to the foot of the cross and shown us how loved and that we are forgiven and free of the sin that can cause us to be weighed down! So to sum up what small group has looked like for us, I would say it’s been full of wisdom, learning, compassion, and laughter! P.S. The current picture posted here goes along with Evelyn and Amy’s small group that I happen to be a part of, we were given our wings on the first night and we are all looking to better understand the meaning behind them by the end of the 5 weeks!

Stories

This week, we focused a lot on sharing our stories. As I’m thinking about how to explain what I learned this week, I realize that Big Daddy Weave says it best in My Story.

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him.

We had a lot of time this week that was set aside to work on our spiritual journey stories or our testimonies. We asked God to show us what to include so that our stories, once shared, can encourage people and draw others closer to Him. We shared our stories with small groups of our peers. That process was helpful for gaining confidence and learning how to make our stories more concise, but still accurately communicate the various ways that God has worked in our lives. In general, we want to share what life was like before we had a personal relationship with God, what it looked like to accept Christ, and what life has been like since that decision to accept Christ. Some of our stories tell a sweet love story between a loving God and his beautiful creation. Some of our stories reinforce God’s faithfulness and provision. Some show how forgiving our God is and how we cannot ever stray too far from him. These are just some examples of themes that are woven into our stories. We hope that in sharing our stories with some of the people in our lives, Christ will be glorified. We ultimately hope that more people will come to know Him personally and experience the abundant life that He offers us.

Spiritual Care Practicums — First Week

This week we took the skills we learned from the conference and training sessions up to the hospital wards! It was really rewarding and exciting to see our skills continue to come to fruition as we interacted with real patients.

At first we were nervous, unsure of how to best approach patients. We want to give patients complete autonomy but also be receptive to their spiritual needs, whether realized or not, and respond in a compassionate way that communicates God’s encouragement and truth. This is not always an easy task, and definitely takes help from the Holy Spirit. As we spoke to more patients, however, it came more naturally to us and we began to feel comfortable taking “spiritual histories.”

Now, each time we go to the wards for spiritual care, we pair up in groups of two and go to all different hospital units in the medical center. From perinatal care to internal medicine floors to oncology units, we were able to talk with patients who have many different medical conditions and who are on many different points in their spiritual journeys. God has blessed us with many rich encounters, prayers with patients at the bedside, and even opportunities to share uplifting Bible verses and our booklets explaining Christianity. The practicums have been a really meaningful experience overall. Please pray for God to continue working in the lives of the patients we encounter!

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Kicking off METS Conference – Purpose

Hi friends, family and new acquaints! Yes, we are finally posting on our WPCP2017 blog, and with this we will keep you updated with our weekly activities. With this blog, we aim to keep those who are supporting us and those who are curious a window into our preceptorship. We hope y’all can appreciate this. A bit of introduction: 26 medical, pharmacy, nursing and physical therapy students have gathered and are spending 5 weeks together in southern California for two purposes: 1) to gain hands-on training on ethically and sensitively assessing the spiritual needs of patients and 2) to learn from seasoned Christian healthcare providers.

Kicking off the preceptorship, a METS Conference was held June 9th thru June 12th where we began working towards meeting these goals. We learned to take spiritual histories of patients Saturday morning and immediately practiced this new-found skill with patients at Loma Linda Medical Center. We went room to room, bed to bed and conversed with patients and were surprised at the response we received. Some patients were immensely grateful to see us and for the opportunity to talk about their hospitalization and illnesses. They were happy to share how their faith in God kept their spirits high despite being in poor physical health. Yet others were uninterested or weary. They wanted nothing to do with us. And by the end of day 1 – I repeat DAY 1- we had learned (rather quickly) to take a patient’s spiritual history and also spent a few hours with actual patients. METS Conference Day 2 came and passed in a similar fashion: A lesson on ethics of whole person care and an afternoon spent in the wards with patients.

It is unbelievable how much we did in just two days – we gained a newfound ability to converse with patients about their spiritual health- and it is unbelievable to think that this is just a preview into the next five weeks. As WPCP continues, we will continue to keep you updated and share the various joys we have here.

Here’s a video, made by the amazing Pauling Lee, mother of one of attendees from Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Samuel Han.