Reflecting on a Year of Growth

This post was written by Alyssa Brindle, a Diabetes Support Specialist and Care Coordinator at UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center.

None of us could have predicted how short one year could feel.  I think I can speak for all of my fellow NHC members when I say that this year was one of growing, learning, skill-building, listening, openness, and challenges.  I also think we can all agree that each of our perspectives on service has changed in some way since the beginning of the term.  Seeing what a group of people can accomplish as a group and as individuals on a day-to-day basis is inspiring and speaks to the power of community involvement, investment, and service.

The toolkit we were each able to build over the course of this year is varied.  The skills we have gained will allow us to continue in our public health careers with a new sense of relevancy and awareness.  Our monthly trainings have equipped us to do anything from employing CPR or first aid, to being financially savvy, to being sensitive to those who may have experienced trauma in their lives.  Personally, one of the greatest skills I have gained and sharpened this year is the act of listening.  In my position, I interact with clients on an almost daily basis and it taught me just how important active listening and communication skills are. Sometimes all someone needs is a person to take the time to sit down and listen to their story and concerns. Being able to recognize those times and just truly listen is valuable and makes a world of difference in someone’s care.  This year has equipped me with the ability to connect with others with compassion, empathy, and intention. Being a part of day-today operations in a clinic is the only way I could have gained the knowledge and understandings that I was able to this year.  I think we’ve all gained a greater appreciation for how complex health care and the system can be.

We’ve undoubtedly become better citizens and people over our service year and we have countless people to thank for that. Our experiences will help guide us to continue to problem solve, help others, and effectively contribute to a better future society. The spirit of service will stay with each of us so no matter where we are or what we are doing, we will always get involved with our communities and be a part of the foundation and fabric of the country.