Volunteer Profile: María Teresa

When María Teresa immigrated from Peru in 1998, it was with mixed emotions—she was excited to be reunited with
her mom and sister who’d already been living in Arlington for several years, but sad to be leaving behind a beloved
nursing career. Missing medicine and eager to get plugged into her new community, María Teresa turned to her mom, an active member of Our Lady Queen of Peace, who connected her with fellow parishioner, Kate Wilson, a nurse on staff at Arlington Free Clinic.

María Teresa dove into her new volunteer job at AFC. In the beginning, she spent three evenings a week checking in
patients and interpreting during their doctor visits. Understandably, that decreased to two nights a week a couple of years later when she got married, and one when her first baby was born—but she’s held steady at one night a week ever since!

These days, María Teresa volunteers as a discharge instructor—the perfect fit for doctors and nurses who are medically licensed in other countries. A conversation with one of our discharge volunteers is the final step built into the appointment process at AFC. During discharge, patients have one more opportunity to ask questions about their medications, lab orders, or anything else. While María Teresa never worked as a nurse in the US, she has valuable medical knowledge—and a warm personality. That’s often just what it takes for that reserved patient to surface a final nagging question or open up about struggles at home with a teenage child or difficulty paying rent. Thanks to María Teresa and the rest of our discharge team, we can make sure that lingering medical questions, and even important nonmedical needs, get addressed before patients leave the building—and it all adds up greater overall health.

Read our entire 2019 Annual Report here.

Susana: From 12 Medications to Healthy & Strong
Moving with Patients Toward Better Health
An Epic Transition to a New Electronic Health Record System
AFC Highlights, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019
Why We Support Arlington Free Clinic: Dana & Ray Koch
Practice Spotlight: Novant Health Imaging
Board Chair’s Letter