Newman University students have been volunteering at the Guadalupe Clinic for many years. Nursing students play a big role in patient care at the clinic and Spanish speaking students play an important role in translating at the clinic.
The Guadalupe Clinic is a part of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. It is a unique, donation-based healthcare clinic founded in Wichita in 1985.
According to its website, “The Mission of the Guadalupe Clinic is to provide access to necessary healthcare for those in need, work for social justice in health care, and call upon the entire Church and other people of goodwill to join in these efforts.”
Newman Assistant Professor of Spanish Sonja Bontrager said, “Volunteering allows continued development of students’ communicative and cultural competency and the opportunity to use these skills to join the Guadalupe Clinic in their mission.
Bontrager’s students volunteer to help translate for Spanish-speaking patients. A language barrier can be quite the obstruction when trying to administer healthcare and having a translator helps both the patient and the healthcare administer feel more at ease during appointments.
“The Guadalupe Clinic has been an invaluable site for Newman students to work with medical professionals and learn more about patient care and the needs of individuals in our communities,” said Bontrager. She believes this partnership has helped deepen the insight and awareness of past Newman students who are now practicing medicine professionally.
Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Jane Weilert said, “The purpose (of volunteering) for the nursing students is to have an experience in a primary care clinic setting and working with vulnerable populations. Another purpose is for the students to learn about resources in the community so when they are in practice they can refer clients to settings like Guadalupe.”
The nurses that work at the Clinic are more than happy to have Newman students volunteering with them. It helps to free up some of their time for other pressing tasks. Last semester, more than 10 students volunteered to take on the responsibility of patient care at the clinic.
Medical Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth Stewart said, “Often, the student is the first point of contact as the patient enters our clinical area and the student meets and greets them. The student rooms the patient and takes the presenting complaint along with the vital signs and a review of their current medication. When the patient care is passed to the provider, the nursing student is available should the provider require anything regarding the patient.”
Being a patient’s first point of contact at the clinic means it’s highly important for the students to have a professional approach. Stewart commented on the punctuality and professionalism of the Newman student volunteers. She said the clinic appreciates the students’ keen attitude and their willingness to lend a helping hand with whatever is needed.
“Often, we have a volunteer qualified registered nurse on hand and our qualified volunteers love to educate,” Stewart said. “We look forward to the time when the student nurses are qualified and they can return to volunteer at the clinic.”
Goals for Spanish minors at Newman relate deeply to the Mission at the Clinic. Bontrager said, “As one of the Newman Spanish minor goals is to develop a hunger and thirst for justice through using language and cultural skills in service settings, our student volunteers have an outstanding opportunity to learn from other medical professionals committed to the goals of social justice in health care and in our community.”
The Clinic is thankful for the volunteers Newman provides as their knowledge and attitudes are a great addition to the Clinic. “We truly hope that the liaison with the department of nursing at Newman continues into the future,” said Stewart. “Overall, the Newman University students are a great asset to the clinic and our patients.”