Welcome back to Mission Monday, a blog series where on the first Monday of the month we share accounts from the participants of Equiscript and OneWorld Health’s medical mission trip to Nicaragua that took place in December of 2017. This Mission Monday post features Stephen Roller, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Primary Health Solutions in Hamilton, Ohio.
In addition to being the COO and CCO of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Stephen Roller is a Nurse Practitioner (NP). On the mission trip, Stephen assumed the role of diagnosing, treating, and ordering treatment plans for patients. With this being his first medical mission, I asked Stephen if he had felt prepared going into the trip. He explained that he has done other types of mission work before and has been out of the country but said, “I was expecting to get a lot of weird tropical diseases (seen in the clinic), but I didn’t see a lot of that. There was a lot of diabetes and hypertension, things I see at home on a regular basis. If you’re not in that community health center space, they would never believe me if I said these patients that see a doctor or NP twice a year in Nicaragua, have conditions that are comparable to folks in America. Until you’re in that space, you may not believe it, but it’s true.”
Many of the participants work in FQHCs which seems to give them an advantage in being prepared and dealing with the severity of health issues and conditions seen in the Nicaraguan community.
When asked some of the challenges he faced while on the trip, Stephen recalled a specific patient that stuck out to him. He said, “There was one little boy that we sent to Managua because we diagnosed him as being diabetic. I think most people in a provider position tend to be a little bit of control freaks. ‘This is how I want to order this test, this is what I’m going to do next, and I want the results back so I can determine what happens next.’ There, it was sort of like, ‘well we’re going to need to tell mom he needs to go to Managua three hours away, they don’t have transportation but if she doesn’t get there and follow up with an endocrinologist then something really bad could happen to her son.’ Having to say we did the best we could and that’s hopefully going to be good enough is not always easy. Even though we have to do some of that in the States, I was much more aware of it there because of the limited resources and enhanced barriers.”
What Stephen described as an “excellent” and “life-changing” experience, was also a teaching experience he could share with his team and family. “I’m married, I have four kids and with all of the responsibilities I have at work, it was a good opportunity for me to take it all in and realize how blessed I have been personally and professionally and how much we benefit here in the States and really hammer that home with my kids and be completely present with my kids. It was also a good opportunity to hammer home some key points to our providers as well and to say, let’s be completely present with our patients and understand some of them go through great sacrifices and struggles to get to us so let’s be very aware of that,” said Stephen.
Stephen’s key takeaway? He said, “One of the things that was most exciting and one of my key takeaways from the trip was: you took a group of like-minded individuals, most of whom had never met, put them together, and were able to see almost 1,000 patients over the course of four-and-a-half days. It really reinforced how if people on the team know why they’re doing what they’re doing, then the what and the how work themselves out pretty quick.”
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You can learn more about Equiscript and OneWorld Health by going to www.equiscript.com/owh
Erika Pfeifer, Marketing and Client Success Coordinator
Erika Pfeifer is the liaison between Marketing and Client Success at Equiscript. She works with both teams to collaborate and come up with ways to better reach and serve our patients, clients, and communities. Erika is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where she studied communication and marketing.