Well the first week has come to a close, and I have to admit I could not have asked for a better start to my REHPS experience. Lauren and I met our host family, Lynn and Mike Buck, for the first time. Mike used to work for the telephone company and Lynn worked in radiology at the hospital. They have a beautiful home and we have the entire basement to ourselves.
My first day in the clinic was great! I met my preceptor Carrie Fuhrer PA-C, as well as the rest of the clinic staff including Deb, Tracy, and Ryan. It was nice to be in family medicine again. I truly like working with individuals from all ages. What better way to finish our first day in Scotland than with a Healthcare Appreciation Dinner. We had the opportunity to help serve dinner which was an excellent way for us to meet many people from town and to be introduced to the healthcare community.
I spent the majority of the week in the clinic, getting to know the routine. We had our first ER patient since I had arrived in Scotland. It was interesting to see how the ER functioned in a small hospital. I was very impressed. I had the opportunity to follow Jodi in Physical Therapy and Cody in Pharmacy to finish out the week. It was interesting to see the other side of things. There is a lot of work that goes into making sure the patient fully understands their exercises and feels confident in being able to do them on their own. To be successful, the patient has to be willing to not only work hard in the office but as home as well. As for the pharmacy, there is a lot of patient education going on there as well. I think the theme of my first week was definitely education!
Week two was busy! I feel like I am now in the flow of things in the clinic. I am seeing patients by myself. I have been given the opportunity to obtain their history, do the physical exam, talk to the patients about what I think the diagnosis is, and how to treat it. Of course, Carrie still double checks to make sure I am on the right track. I always joked with the patients, “you get the novice version and the pro version.” I had the opportunity to go to Parkston to see who another rural hospital functioned. I really liked this experience because I had never followed a hospitalist before. Becky covered both the ER and would round with the doctors on the inpatient side of things as well. Everyone in Parkston was very nice.
I got back from Parkston just in time to help with some Highlander softball. I have coached softball for many years, so I was excited to have the chance to help out with the 10u team while in Scotland. We finished the week out with a continuing education webinar on antibiotics. It is important to stay current as medicine is always changing, but that was a long day. However, we did get to break the day up a bit and join the local Rotary Club chapter for lunch at the Rec Bar. The food was amazing and it was interesting to see how the many different ways the Rotary Club was able to make a difference for their community.
The clinic was closed on Monday in honor of Memorial Day. This gave Lauren and I some time to explore the town a little bit more. I was finally able to make it to the Highlander Gym which offered both a basketball court and weight room. We had clinic the rest of the week which gave me more opportunities to interact with patients. It was nice to see some follow up patients and to be able to see their progress. We conducted our community based project towards the end of our third week. Our project focused on sun and insect safety. We created pamphlets with sun and insect safety tips and facts, which we handed out to all of the participants at the fishing derby. We gave out samples of sunscreen and insect repellent wipes at the derby as well. It was a fun time. All of the kids won something no matter if they caught a fish or not. There was good food, lots of laughs, and just a fun day overall. After the derby was over, I had the opportunity to work with one of the softball girls on her skills. Anytime I can be on the softball field, I am happy.
My final two weeks in Scotland presented me with a lot of “firsts.” I had the opportunity to do my first knee injection on this rotation. It is surprising how many times a student is not allowed to do a procedure for one reason or another, but that was never the case in Scotland. All of the providers offered to let me do the procedure or at the very least help with it. It is such a valuable experience to have a preceptor who understands the need for me to learn by doing. More importantly the patients were open to me doing the procedures. This is the time I learn how to do it correctly with the guidance of my preceptors because soon I will be expected to do it on my own.
I went on my first EMS call with the Scotland EMS crew. I joined the Scotland EMS crew at the beginning of my 5 weeks in Scotland because I thought it would be exciting to see how another ambulance service ran. I have worked for Yankton County EMS for going on 6 years, but I have never worked for a volunteer service before. They were all so accepting of me; unfortunately I was only able to make one call with them. I went on a signal one (car accident) with EMS, and then when I got to the hospital I switched roles to PA-S. I have never had an experience like this, but I really did enjoy getting to do both sides.
One of the last duties I had as a REHPS representative was to complete a video clip for our community based project so that more people could be educated on insect safety. I filmed a short “Highlander Tip of the Week” video which was posted on the Landmann-Jungman Memorial Hospital Avera Facebook Page. Although I really do not like the idea of being filmed, I tried my best to have fun with it. Although, I do think I look rather goofy in the clip. At least the information was valuable.
Throughout my five weeks in Scotland, I had the privilege of shadowing many areas within the hospital and participate in a wide variety of activities. During my time at Scotland I was able to work with/shadow the clinic providers, lab, physical therapy, radiology, attend nursing home rounds, follow the hospital nurses, pharmacy, receptionists, business office, and administration. Some of the activities include: healthcare appreciation super, youth Softball, VFW Youth Fishing Derby, Highland Tip of the Week, senior exercise group, Rotary Club luncheon, meals at the “Rec Bar,” dinners with our host family, dinner with Carrie and her family, shopping downtown, and the food pantry breakfast fundraiser. All of these experiences/ activities gave me a true since of what it means to be a provider in a small rural community. I truly enjoyed my time in Scotland and all that it has to offer. I am thankful to the Scotland community for being so inviting and truly making me feel as though I was a part of their community.