STUART-The student experience at Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic is a wonderful learning opportunity. The hands-on involvement in the medical sector and the interaction with patients prepares students for their careers. The VIM Clinic has worked with numerous students who have moved on to promising careers.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has formed a solid relationship with VIM. Each year, nurse practitioner students from FAU come to VIM for their clinical rotations. Throughout the process, they examine patients and consult with the preceptor about their appointments.

Kathi Harvey, DNP, FNP, is a volunteer at VIM and she’s also an assistant professor at FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. She was a major contributor in developing a connection between FAU and VIM. The university was looking for an organization to partner with and Harvey recommended us.

“Students are placed on site at VIM for a period of three years. They have a consistency in their clinical experience and they also have a consistency on who their preceptors are. The biggest advantage is they’re working with the medical underserved community which is a mission with the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing,” said Harvey.

Mouline Guerrier received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Florida International University before attending Nova Southeastern University for a Master of Science in Health Law. Now, she’s enrolled in the Doctor of Nurse Practitioner Program at FAU.

“The people are friendly and they work well with others. Having more time to spend with a patient, gives them a better understanding of their health. You can go through each of their problems with them verses going over one diagnosis,” said Guerrier.

Guerrier is completely comfortable with her experience at VIM. She’s 10 years removed from nursing, but she’s been able to learn at her own pace. Appointments are 30 to 60 minutes long compared to private practices that are 15 minutes.

Melanie De Guzman, ARNP, did her clinical at VIM as a student at FAU. She says it’s useful practicing at VIM due to the opportunities. A student has the chance to learn different kinds of care that can be helpful in their career.

“There are specialists here so if I want to step away from primary care and learn about endocrine or ENT (ear, nose and throat) I have the ability to do so without having to leave the clinic,” said De Guzman. “Their approach is so holistic and they really take their time with patients. They’re approachable, knowledgeable and they have a lot of resources here.”

She’s learned to always stay open minded and the importance of taking your time with patience, assuring them that they’re the only person that matters during their visit.

The VIM Clinic provides free health care for uninsured Martin County residents. Individuals must have an annual income of $24,120 or less. For more information call 772-463-4128.