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On the Road: The View from the Mobile Health Clinic

October 1, 2012  |  By Su Wasseluk, Nurse Practitioner, Duffy Health Center

There is a lot of interest on the Cape in Duffy's Mobile Health Clinic. We thought readers would like to know about what the day-to-day experience is like for our roving clinicians. Su Wasseluk, Duffy's Nurse Practitioner, has offered to write regular updates on the "View from the Bus."

Duffy Mobile Health Clinic

Monday Morning: Duffy's Mobile Health Clinic rumbles to life in the back corner of Cape Cod Hospital's parking lot. Coffee in hand, Jan maneuvers our clinic on wheels through and around obstacles as gracefully as a deer runs through a forest. We watch the seasons' change reflected in the traffic patterns as we wind our way down to Falmouth Service Center. We set up camp in the corner of their parking lot. Often, there are clients waiting for us. They come on board, help themselves to coffee as we boot up, log on, settle in, and get going. This is not your usual day at the office.

The Mobile Health Clinic is a moving target for moving targets. Folks passing through sober houses. Folks still sleeping outside. Folks whose fortune has turned. Folks without the funds or wherewithal to access care anywhere else. We never know who or what will knock on the door; but our greeting is always the same: "Come In."

The bus rocks a little, like a big old boat, whenever someone climbs on board. There is a familiar moment with newcomers while they get their bearings. Their gaze takes in this funny bus replete with exam room, office space and tiny bench for waiting. Then they settle into their story.

There are those that fit our mission, and those that don't. Those that we can care for on the bus and those who would be better served elsewhere. Those that need our services and those who need an ambulance call. Those who have no one to tell their story to, and those who need to tell their story over and over again.

They meet us at Falmouth Service Center. They find us at the NOAH shelter. They can find us in a Dennis Port municipal parking lot and at the Lower Cape Outreach Council.

No matter what parking lot we happen to be in when the door knocks, the answer is always the same: "Come In."

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