STUART-Getting hands-on experience for medical students is crucial to their careers. The partnership Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic has with Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine has made this opportunity available.

Two FSU students, Karolain Garcia and Marvin Dieujuste, came to VIM for their Chronic Care Course. It consists of students being assigned a new patient each week. The students perform a history assessment and physical under the guidance of Dr. Howard E. Voss. They follow these patients adjusting their care and medication throughout the year. They, therefore, have a unique experience of basically having their own practice. They have the opportunity to follow their treatments or even patients failure to respond to the best efforts possible. They are able to call in a specialist and order the best test from Martin Health System.

Garcia attended Florida International University before starting her education at FSU College of Medicine. She’s considering Family Medicine, but she’s keeping her options open. Dieujuste graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in biology before going to FSU College of Medicine. He’s interested in Internal Medicine.

Both students came to VIM on a bi-weekly basis and got hands-on experience interacting with patients. It was their first time having that level of access to a patient in an exam room.

“You can actually see what life is going to be like as a doctor and you have the opportunity to work with people who are underserved and who really need the services that they’re getting. So I guess it’s just that feeling of being able to give back to people and knowing that you are not getting a lot in return. I feel like that’s something you can only get at a place like this,” said Garcia

Learning from Dr. Voss has been extremely helpful for both students. He goes over each case with his students and answers any questions they may have.

“I’m learning how to do an interview with a patient, a physical exam, and I’m getting clinical knowledge. It’s a full experience learning from Dr. Voss,” said Garcia. “The staff is very welcoming to the students and your opinion matters, it’s a great feeling.”

Marvin Dieujuste, FSU College of Medicine student

Examining a patient for the first time is an eye-opener. Dieujuste has learned a lot of information he’ll be able to use.

“I’ve learned how to utilize my time efficiently and being able to connect with a patient in a major way. I understand how to be aware of everyone’s situation and different factors that play into someone’s health,” said Dieujuste.

Garcia and Dieujuste have finished their clinical education at VIM and will now move on to the next phase of their journey. Their experience here will prepare them for the future.

“The first part of the Hippocratic Oath states our obligation as doctors to teach those who come after us. I’m pleased to have taught medical students for the past 50 years, the last 10 have been Florida State University students. It’s been wonderful preparing these young medical students for their coming careers,” said Dr. Voss.

The VIM Clinic in Stuart provides free health care for uninsured Martin County residents who qualify. For more information, call 772-463-4128, or visit online at vimclinic.net.