At St. Vincent’s, all Radiography students commit time to serving their local in-need community. During the semester leading up to my graduation in May, I volunteered at Iglesia Pentecostal in Bridgeport, where I helped with free health screenings for Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and waist measurements.
Learning about Healthcare in the Bridgeport Community
The experience made me realize that there is a lack of importance given to health education in the community. To my surprise, many people did not know that they were overweight, or how their weight and BMI affected blood sugar and cholesterol levels. My volunteer service also made me realize that underprivileged people in the community can benefit greatly from health education and free clinics, and that I can make a big difference, even as a radiography student.
Healthcare Challenges for Spanish Speakers
I speak fluent Spanish, so I also saw the issues and anxieties that language barriers create for low-income individuals. I helped Spanish-speaking patients fill out forms and guided them through the screening and testing process. They reminded me of my mom and her inability to understand, speak and write the language of this country, which keeps her from true freedom. I realized that by simply helping a patient fill out a form or by giving them directions, I could provide a sense of comfort and assurance.
Learning Life Lessons through our Radiography Program
I also discovered that many of the people I helped throughout the day felt a sense of pride about the fact that someone from the Hispanic community was working towards a better future by helping the community. One patient interaction, in particular, was a beautiful and fulfilling experience: I was able to bring a smile to the face of an older patient who saw in me the same determination and dedication to education that they had seen in their deceased daughter. This meant a lot to me and kept me motivated throughout the day. Because of that patient interaction, I came away with an especially good memory of my service with Iglesia Pentecostal.
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