We recently got to speak with SCNM student Konstantina Adams about her experience at the SCNM Clinic at Sojourner Center. Sojourner Center is the largest domestic violence shelter in the United States and has been caring for battered women since 1977. SCNM Sage Foundation is proud to provide free care to these women and their families.
Konstantina’s passion for Sojourner became apparent as soon as we sat down to speak with her. She began by saying, “Sojourner has kind of been my baby. I’ve been there since I started working in the clinics and fell in love with it instantly.”
Two years since her first shift at Sojourner, she reflected on her experience. “Sojourner teaches us how to be real people and how to be good doctors. It has also taught me a lot about boundaries. These women are coming from abusive relationships or even drug abuse. The energy is a lot different there so I spend a lot more time with these patients because it takes them longer to warm up.”
“Did you hear what we did for Christmas?” She excitedly told us that last December, Sojourner had a room decorating contest to create some holiday cheer. With the help of other SCNM students and Dr. DiCampli, the onsite licensed physician and faculty member; they decorated the entire clinic with a winter wonderland theme. She even showed us a video of the festive clinic decorated with hundreds of paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, a giant snowman and holiday music playing in the background. Reminiscing about the project, she laughed, “Our blood, sweat and tears went into it that.”
Konstantina believes the community clinics are a vital part of SCNM’s student education. She explains, “The community clinics are so different than the medical center at SCNM. On campus, plenty of resources are available, but at the clinics we have to learn how to pick and choose. This is so important because it teaches students how to think on their feet and what to do with limited resources. Even how we interact with patients is different. It shapes the way we become physicians.”
Working at the Sojourner clinic has also taught Konstantina a lot about compassion. “Patients will cry and share their whole stories with me. I’ve learned to really connect on a personal level with the patients. Sometimes it’s not even about treatment, sometimes they just need someone to listen.”
After graduation, her time working in the Sojourner clinic will come to an end, but Konstantina will take what she learned and apply it to her future patients. Sojourner clinic has had a profound impact on Konstantina and she has left her positive mark there as well. She told us, “I have had some patients touch my heart who I will never forget.”
Konstantina plans to open her own practice and eventually hopes to teach at SCNM. We know that she will carry her experience at Sojourner with her.
Thank you to Konstantina and everyone providing care at Sojourner Center!