By Carrie Moores for The Island Connection
Cynthia Cronk is a Johns Island resident and a human resources volunteer at Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic, now in her third year of service.
Cronk retired to Charleston and was seeking meaningful volunteer work. Her background in human resources had already exposed her to the healthcare business, having previously volunteered at the Santa Barbara Emergency Room every Saturday night for nearly six years.
The ER was exciting and Cronk’s work there was fulfilling; by managing the waiting room hysterics and stocking carts it freed the nurses and techs to do their “skilled” work. When the position at BIFMC presented itself, Cronk jumped at the opportunity. “For me, it has been fun to do HR in a small organization – a contrast from my previous position, but a good one,” she remarked.
Cronk’s interest in pursuing volunteer work was to do something that was useful for the organization and for the clients served by that organization. “For me, BIFMC provides that. I am able to provide some benefit to the organization and in return I am part of something very special,” she stated. “I see the staff and cadre of medical and support volunteers offer their services in professional and compassionate ways to patients and their families. Every person who comes to the clinic is treated with respect and is afforded medical treatment with full dignity. It’s inspiring to be part of the volunteer ‘mix’ at BIFMC.”
The BIFMC deals primarily with uninsured patients that live and work on James, Johns and Wadamalaw Islands.
Uninsured does not necessarily connote unemployed, which is a common assumption. Cronk recalls a conversation with a patient that brought this misconception to light. “I was checking out at a local grocery store a few weeks ago and had an engaging cashier. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned she was soon to get off the grocery store shift but then she had to go to her second job. I inquired “…so you have 2 jobs?” She smiled and replied, “…actually I have 3 jobs – you know, to make ends meet.”
In addition to those who have multiple part-time positions that may not offer benefits, there is another group of patients whose circumstances change and leave them without benefits and sometimes employment. “There are no true stereotypes when it comes to people who need health care but lack sufficient income and insurance,” explains Cronk. BIFMC evaluates every patient’s circumstances in an effort to be able to offer compassionate health care that every person deserves. For those interested in getting involved with the BIFMC, there are options for volunteers at the clinic.
Medical volunteers, doctors and nurses, are always needed. If your interest is in a support capacity, the clinic needs front office administrative help and Spanish language interpreters. But they also need help with fundraising, business services, community outreach and so much more.
So, if you’re considering BIFMC as a place to volunteer, get in touch with key staff at the clinic who can describe the work, the skills needed and the opportunities available.
BIFMC also appreciates your monetary support. “If you are considering donating a gift, I can tell you with certainty that BIFMC regards every gift as a contribution to advance the mission of the clinic,” says Cronk. “Those in leadership at BIFMC are untiring stewards of all the funds that come into the clinic through gifts, grants and donations. Proudly and responsibly, for every dollar donated to the clinic, 86 cents goes directly to patient care.”
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic provides free, high quality and compassionate primary care to hundreds of uninsured patients who live or work on Johns, James, and Wadmalaw Islands. Our free clinic is able to serve the residents and workers of our Lowcountry community, thanks to the commitment of our volunteer physicians, nurses, and staff.Tweet