An Opportunity to Learn

November 24, 2015   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: PCPCI , Rural
Natalya Seibel

These past few months, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be a student intern with the Patient-Centered Primary Care Institute (PCPCI) as a part of completing my master’s degree in Public Administration: Health Administration at Portland State University. I was able to connect with health care professionals who are working in the front lines of health care reform, learn from professionals working hard to facilitate that work, and practice my knowledge and skills in a real-world environment. It was fascinating, and I have learned a lot.

When I was asked to write a blog about my experience, I went through several drafts before I figured out what it was that I wanted to say. Writing a blog is surprisingly hard. I have heard this from people in the past, and never realized quite what it meant. Because all you have to do is relay information, right? Tell about something you do often, or have knowledge about, or even just tell others about yourself and your thoughts on a topic - how hard can that be? The answer is: pretty hard. There is an idea in my head that writing a blog post on a forum like the PCPCI blog is a big deal, which it is. It will be around forever because it is on the Internet, and it will be read (or skipped over completely) by many professionals, some of whom I hope to work with in the future. These people are great at what they do. They are inspiring, intelligent, hard-working people who have experience in many different aspects of patient-centered primary care. Most of the readers of this blog are reading it to find out how to do something – to get information or see how others feel about, or perform certain tasks – and what can I, a Health Administration student, tell them about that would be of any interest?

This is why I was fortunate to be a student for a program like PCPCI. Doing this work informs and inspires people, and I can tell you about that. Every year, hundreds of students from programs around the country graduate with Public Health, Health Administration, Health Management and many other related degrees. These young professionals all have the same thing in common – they want to make a difference in the way our health care is going. Most people I know who work in health care have a passion for seeing patients get the best outcomes, for helping them contain their costs, and for making sure that the quality of their health care is the best it can be. Yet nowhere else have I seen people as actively passionate about what they do as I have working with PCPCI.

I spoke with a provider in a rural area who worked endlessly to get the best health care to her patients despite their remote location, and I know because of the efforts of many others out there creating and promoting better health technology and resources that the tools are available to her. I spoke with people engaged in the beginning of programs that stood to improve the health of thousands of people in Oregon alone by teaching the skills needed for better self-care related to diabetes management. I worked with people who go to great lengths to connect patients to resources they need and to make sure that information is flowing to those that need it. There is such amazing work being done!

So often I know that the jobs we do in health care can be a little overwhelming, or seem a little thankless. After talking with many people in many different areas of health care these past months, I know that they all faced constant change, confusion and upheaval.  Yet every one of them was invested and excited, doing something that I had only read about, or hadn’t even heard of before. They were all hard working, innovative and fascinating and I was blown away by the knowledge and the intelligence that is out there, working in primary care. I’m sure everyone assumes that is the case, but when you get to sit with someone and hear their story – hear about what they do, and the challenges they face, and the successes they have, and all their hopes for what could be – that is so inspiring! This is why programs like PCPCI are so vitally important. PCPCI serves as a collaborative, working to further health transformation by allowing people to share their resources, information and ideas, and through them you get to learn about and be inspired by others. To talk to one another openly and help one another out, because there is no solid guidebook for what we are doing. We are all working to figure this out together. It has been a privilege to see this happening in our state and to know that I am a part of it.

So my contribution (hopefully) is to inspire others to write a PCPCI blog post. I want to continue to hear other people’s stories and to share in that vital flow of information. I want to know what people are doing out there. I want to reach out to people, like myself, who have a hard time writing a blog, and let them know that it is okay to push through and do it anyway. Share your information, your stories, your knowledge, your ideas…Put them out there and inspire someone else.

Thank you to everyone I was able to work with, and to Kate and Marissa for being such amazing people to learn from. I look forward to continuing to read the PCPCI blog in the future.

Natalya Seibel is an administrative assistant and former intern for the Q Corp program team. She joined Q Corp in 2015 and supports work on various projects, including Total Cost of Care and continuing work with the Oregon Health Authority. For the past ten years, Natalya has worked in different roles in health care, cultivating a passion and focus on quality improvement. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, and is pursuing a Masters’ in Health Care Administration at Portland State University. As a student, she is active in many local student/community groups centering on health care improvement and local government. She is an advocate for local mental health and the arts, and follows public policy intently. She moved to Oregon from New Mexico in 2007, and when not busy with work or school, she enjoys reading, local arts, karaoke and exploring nature around the Pacific Northwest.