The 4-week REHPS experience in Huron was primarily Dr. Loewen, a well-respected family medicine doctor as well as following case managers of IMPACT, a division of community counselling services.
Following Dr. Loewen, I learned how to bring a smile and positive attitude to each patient encounter, from opening the door all the way to thanking the patient for coming in. I witnessed what 30 years in family medicine with OB can create – a close-nit community where you take care of the family with each encounter, rather than the just address the chief complaint.
IMPACT and Outpatient counseling showed me that the outcomes of mental health depend heavily on a team approach for each patient, regardless of diagnosis. I also learned that the success of transitioning an individual with serious mental health conditions from inpatient to outpatient for ultimate self-sufficient and independent live requires a lot of practical assistance and follow up with areas such as finding housing, meals and employment, among others.
If you are interested in a community in South Dakota that has a regional hospital, want to find a variety of patients with acute and chronic conditions, and witness preventative medicine and OB, I would recommend Huron as a site for a medical student.
My partner was Brendan, a 4th year nursing student, with whom we spent numerous hours discussing our perceived roles as members in our future teams, as well as current experiences as trainees. I believe having a partner to work alongside leads to an appreciation of perspectives and difficulties each role has.