Thursday, February 16, 2012

Grad school: community screenings, time crunch, random thoughts

Tonight I was signed up to do community screenings.  I headed to the school to pick up an audiometer, print a map, and off to the other side of town.

The building was set up with all the disciplines the school provides: Nursing, Pharmacy, Dietitian, Counseling, SLP/Audiology, and Dental.  There were tables for vital signs, HIV screenings, nutrition, Rx check, lab work, dental checks, and hearing screenings. 

The hearing screenings were difficult due to the noises in the room from the HVAC, refrigeration system (there was a commercial kitchen in there), and the conversation from the other tables.  But we made do. Otoscopes for visual check of the ear canal and ear drum.  Tympanometer to check flexibility of ear drum, and hearing screenings.  Raise your hand when you hear the beep and say Hallelujia!  (No, not really.  Raising your hand is just fine.)

The screenings were for anyone, but mainly aimed at those in the community who couldn't afford health care.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much of a turnout.  I'm not sure if it was due to location or how well the community was informed.  The volunteers mainly sat around, or went to the other tables to check out the other disciplines.  My classmate and I had great conversations with counseling and dietitians.  Pharmacy came over to our table for screenings.  There were tables full of pamphlets on everything from immunizations to additional service referrals. 

The more I work in community screenings, the more I work in elementary school screenings, the more I work in clinic, the more I love this job.  The only drawback - there are days when I don't get to see my children much.  Twice a week, I get home just after dinner. I miss my family.  At least I know that this schedule won't be forever.  Once I graduate, I can work my schedule to fit theirs and be home when they get home from school.  In the meantime, when I am home, I am home.  I am theirs.  I crack open my books after the youngest ones go to bed.  I shut my laptop when the older ones want to tell me about their day.

I can do hard.  2 1/2 semesters, 1 internship, and 1 externship to go.  Can I see the light at the end of the tunnel?  I dare say I do.