The rural health experience at Huron Regional Medical Center was exceptional. My partner, Trent, and I were able to engage the community with ease as a result of their hospitality. We also saw fantastic pathology and participated in care to such a degree that the learning experience was quite valuable. I would recommend the experience to any of my classmates considering a summer learning opportunity.
My favorite part of the rotation was simply the experience of developing relationships with the staff at Huron Regional and floating between departments to serve. Friendships gained over the course of a month made goodbyes at the end of the rotation tough. Despite the difficulty of leaving, I consider this a sign that my time with staff was well spent and that any supportive care I provided was appreciated. I love the unique opportunity which rural medicine provides the caregiver to float between departments. This helped to foster encouraging relationships and gain experience at the same time. After working in the hospital all morning – on many days – I would stroll to the clinic after lunch and participate in care with any of the physicians on duty. By doing this I had the opportunity to practice orthopedic procedures with Dr. Anderson, obstetric care with Dr. Fox, and internal medicine specialty care with cardiology and nephrology to name a few.
Medical experience in the rural environment also provides the clinician an opportunity to see rare disease upon presentation. Serving in Huron exceeded my expectations in this regard as I was able to provide care to four patients who presented to my attending and I with a first-time complaint of a rare illness. We made the diagnosis and in some cases the patient was given care in our facility. This was very rewarding, because, although I am familiar with seeing new things each week in a large teaching hospital, I am never the first one to see the patients when they have a complaint. Care has always been established, and often the characteristics of the illness have resolved by the time I visit.
I enjoy reflecting on my time in Huron. It is absolutely a confirmation that I would like to practice medicine in a rural or critical access setting, and I anticipate discussing my experiences with those that interview me for residency programs in the next couple months. Huron provided me with friendships and experience that will not be soon forgotten. I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to serve in this community.