fforts to build a culture of caring within Ferris’ College of
Pharmacy are no more evident than in its Pharmacy Care
Clinic, where faculty and students are working to improve
the health of people in need.
Since it opened in April, the clinic has served patients of Big Rapids’
Hope House Free Medical Clinic, which provides medical care to area
residents who don’t have health insurance. Housed in the college’s
former Model Pharmacy, the clinic provides the opportunity for
students to deliver that care.
“We can’t do in the classroom what working in a care setting does
for students,” said Jeff Bates, an associate professor in the College of
Pharmacy. “The clinic allows students to understand the concepts and
practice the skills they learned in the classroom to serve real patients
… to provide care, not just medicine. That’s where the whole ‘culture
of caring’ must start in order for it to permeate our profession and
society as a whole.
“I have been amazed by the change in our students. I see a difference
Ferris’ relationship with Hope House began about six years ago, when
the free clinic began operating one day a week at Trinity Evangelical
Free Church in Big Rapids. The number of patients grew to the point
that Hope House had to go to an appointment-only system and many
had to wait eight months between visits.
But Hope House was able to move to a new space on the east side of
Big Rapids in April and expanded its clinic hours to two days a week.
That sliced the wait time in half and allows the clinic to accept new
patients again. The Pharmacy Care Clinic is open three days a week,
extending the window of opportunity for Hope House patients to get
their prescriptions filled.
“We have about 660 patient encounters per year, and 95.4 percent
of the time, patients are picking up and taking their prescriptions,”
Bates said. “To see that kind of adherence is phenomenal.”
The Pharmacy Care Clinic, which is staffed by faculty members, local
volunteer pharmacists and volunteer interns, is open 10 hours a week
(3-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays).
During a typical Wednesday, the clinic fills 60 prescriptions. About
‘Care’ — a Little Word with Big Meaning
Students serve patients in need at Pharmacy Care Clinic
By Betsy Musolf