What I Learned
A student reflection.
“I attended the SECU Family House Dinner and Orientation in June 2015. I had no prior knowledge of the house, and a vague notion that it would be similar to the Ronald McDonald House, which I understood to be a free place for families to stay while their child is in the hospital.
The SECU Family House turned out to be more than just a place to stay; it is a respite, a place for support and nourishment, and a place to connect with families who share a common struggle.
I ate dinner with a family whose adult child has been admitted to Wake Forest multiple times with acute-on-chronic pancreatitis. We learn a lot about diseases and pathophysiology in medical school, but we rarely concentrate on what 6 admissions in 4 months means to a family. We learn about the pain caused by pancreatic enzymes as they leak outside their intended locations and digest a patient’s vital organs, but we rarely pause to consider the suffering of parents as they watch their child’s pain, or the financial and emotional hardships endured when a family member is forced to leave his or her job to become a caregiver.
This experience has already led me to consider the family not only when discussing treatment options, but also during and especially after a hospital stay. I have already recommended the SECU Family House to a man from Wytheville who was planning to drive 3 hours each way daily to visit his father. I will continue to share this knowledge with families as well as search for additional support systems and opportunities for assistance that I can recommend.
Thank you for this opportunity and for the support you provide to our community and the families of our patients. I hope my own family is never in need of your services, but I am glad to know that one day if something happens to me that you are there to support and guide them.”
About the Education Program
The Family House Education Program encourages guests to share their experience with a medical crisis. At the same time, medical, nursing, physician assistant, and chaplain students increase their awareness of and inspire confidence to advocate for patients and their families.
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