Making a Difference: The Free Clinic Extraordinary Volunteers

Abigail Buckholz

I volunteer at The Free Clinic because I really value helping underserved patient populations and contributing where there is a need. Also, wanting to be a doctor and see patients, I felt that The Free Clinic was great for getting experience in the field that I wanted to go into. I always loved shadowing even before medical school, but The Free Clinic is like a step-up from shadowing. I also like the teaching aspect of the clinic, because I am in a position to mentor students. Overall, I feel it has given me, from the beginning of medical school, a taste of what residency is going to be like. 
Nothing can beat the time when I was able to diagnose a problem and had to send a patient directly to the emergency room. If the team had not diagnosed the person, I honestly believe that person could have died shortly thereafter. This first experience of putting my medical training to such good use will stay with me.
I have learned how to practice medicine at The Free Clinic. I haven't had any other experience that has given me the freedom to figure out patient care and not just following instructions. The experience has given me confidence that I can be a practicing physician.

Abigail Buckholz, is a fourth-year medical student from Carlsbad, New Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biological sciences: neuroscience, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, with minors in music and chemistry. She plans to compete a double residency in psychiatry and internal medicine or family medicine.

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