When I reflect back on my high school experience, I think about it as a time of growth, exploration, and development. I remember thinking about my future. Both who I wanted to grow into as a person and also how I wanted to move forward into college and beyond. High school was a transformative time when both teachers and staff helped shape my education and life experiences.
Serving at the school-based Erie clinic at Amundsen High School has allowed me to get a glimpse into the world of high school again, but this time from the perspective of a NHC Chicago member and Erie Health Educator. Seeing the Nurse Practitioner, Medical Assistant, Therapist, and Patient Benefits Advocate work with students every day has been a humbling experience. Hearing students get excited about the health center and seeing our provider has shown me how crucial health centers are in a high school setting and how students at this age especially need these services. Our clinic does everything from sports physicals, to reproductive health services, to counseling sessions, and more. Empowering students to take care of their health and well-being with the support of compassionate, and patient adults has been an effective way to foster communities of healthy and safe youth.
However, thus far, the service hasn’t always been easy. We see students come in with debilitating mental health issues, tough backgrounds, and stress that occur beyond the walls of our clinic. The joy, however, comes from connecting with students through nutrition counseling sessions, chatting with families at school fairs, and having the small conversations with students while walking them to their dental appointments. The little moments, especially, are the times where I am privileged to see the joy and light of our students shine through and remind myself and them of the importance of adolescent health. Giving our students positive, age-appropriate care is what will drive them to advocate for that same kind of care later on in life, and I have an awesome team to thank for that.
From flu shots, to dental vans, counseling sessions, to physicals, everyday we show students that clinics aren’t scary, and that they have a right to comprehensive, confidential care. I am extremely excited to see where this service term continues to take me, and look forward to serving with the awesome team at Erie Amundsen as we continue to advocate for our students each and every day.
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2019-20 member Meghal Sheth.
Meghal is a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center - Amundsen.