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Medical students treat homeless patients at rescue mission clinic

14 medical students trained with real patients at Roanoke Rescue Mission

ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke Rescue Mission’s clinic hosted a training where medical students treated patients who are homeless.

“It's heartwarming to be able to help them as I am learning, and to see the care that we are giving to people in a very real situation,” Crystal Barksdale, a physician assistant student at Jefferson College of Health Sciences said.

Fourteen health care professional students got a chance to experience hands-on training with 20 scheduled patients.

“Students are anxious to get out of the classroom and they love going to the clinical setting where they can apply the knowledge that they learned in the classroom to actual patient care,” Wilton Kennedy, director of clinical education at Jefferson College of Health Sciences said.

This was a collaborative effort which included four students from the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and ten physician assistant students from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, giving them a unique opportunity to learn from each other side-by-side.

Chief Development Officer Tracey Altizer of the rescue mission believes this training will foster a greater understanding of the needs of homeless patients.

“We're hopeful that by providing this place to train, that it's also going to foster a greater understanding and compassion for the people that we serve, the homeless population, and that once they graduate, they want to come back as volunteer providers,” Altizer said.

It’s a win-win situation.