Effective, Efficient and Rewarding
Sylvia McDonald, RN, served nine years on the Mercy Health Foundation Board of Trustees including multiple terms as board chair and chair of the Grants Committee. One of the Foundation projects of most interest to her was the Living Healthy Community Clinic for the uninsured. "It always fascinated me," she said. Each year the Grants Committee hears a report about the previous year's activities from the Clinic manager, Leona Whitman, as part of the annual funding request. "Boards want to know what their funds are providing," Sylvia said. Under her leadership, the Committee's requests for specific information helped the Clinic develop consistent reporting tools and find additional efficiencies.
When Sylvia, a mother of four and a community volunteer, began thinking about getting back into nursing she looked to the Clinic as a meaningful way to continue to volunteer as well as accumulate clinical hours. She now volunteers at the Clinic two days per week. "I had never worked in a clinic before?always a hospital setting, but I just fell in love with working there," Sylvia said. "What you have in a lot of health care settings today is an emphasis on productivity in terms of how many patients you see. At the Clinic, it's more about how you can accommodate the population you have with the means you have. The service they provide is outstanding. It creates a great environment."
In some ways, working in the Clinic was an eye opener for her. "To really see the constraints people have and the choices they have to make. That concept was very foreign to me," Sylvia said. "You have to understand the balance they have to maintain." Many Clinic patients have very complex medical issues as well as physical and mental limitations or social and economic barriers. "You sometimes see the sickest of the sick." However, she finds the work very rewarding. "There isn't a day that goes by that they don't thank me. And, the staff is wonderful. That's what keeps me coming back."