STUART — Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic has more than 100 volunteers who have countless years of experience in the medical industry. They all find time to donate their talents and knowledge to people who aren’t able to afford health insurance. Karin Klause, ARNP, and Carlos Maldonado, MD, are two fairly new volunteers, who are eager to give back.
Klause attended Florida Atlantic University to further her nursing career and that’s when she learned about VIM. She contacted Betty Tsarnas, ARNP, about possibly doing her clinical here, that’s how Klause got involved. Now, she’s a volunteer.
“When I was a student the experience was phenomenal because everyone was knowledgeable. They’re experts in their field and they facilitate learning. The student experience was amazing and I learned so much. I’ve always said one day I’ll come back,” said Klause.
Klause returned to VIM a few months ago. She’s extremely excited to help low income families without health insurance. Her support has been astonishing and she enjoys conversing with the patients.
“We hear about the Affordable Care Act, insurance and Medicare, but we don’t hear about the ones who are left behind,” said Klause.
Her mother, who was a nurse in World War II, inspired Klause to work in the medical field. She started her education at Palm Beach Community College, which is now Palm Beach State College. Klause transitioned to FAU for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which led to her getting a master’s in nursing. She’s pursuing her doctoral at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Carlos Maldonado, MD, has been volunteering with VIM for six months. He previously worked at Martin Health System, but now he’s part-time. Maldonado had the urge to work more, so he decided to volunteer and give back.
Since volunteering at VIM, he’s been pleased with his efforts and the condition of the clinic. He volunteers once a week performing general surgeries. Maldonado is happy to continue his work and help an organization that provides care to the indigent.
“This place is so clean, the nurses and all the personnel are excellent. It’s been a pleasure to work here,” said Maldonado. His experience with the patients has been remarkable. “Most of the people are thankful and they follow orders easily. They don’t complain and that’s your ideal patient.”
Maldonado’s father was a surgeon, his dad passed away when he was 16 years old. He decided to follow his dad’s footsteps. He went to medical school in Spain at the University of Barcelona. In 1954, he came to the United States as an exchange student for one year in Milwaukee at Marquette University. Once he finished he returned to Spain, he practiced there until 1972 and then he came back to the United States.
The VIM Clinic provides free comprehensive medical care to uninsured Martin County residents. Individuals must have an income of $24,120 or less to qualify. For additional information, call 772-463-4128.