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James Awuah Reflection

Getting to Bennett County Hospital & Nursing Home, Martin, SD for clinical, inter-professional experience, and having the opportunity to work with one of the finest providers I have ever met has been an amazing clinical exposure for me. Not knowing what to expect in underserved community in rural South Dakota, my first 2 –weeks at the hospital has been eye opening and rewarding.

I have had multiple opportunities to demonstrate care and compassion in the clinical setting to the local community with a large proportion being Native Americans. I have learned a lot about their culture and healthcare needs. The first day at Bennett County Hospital & Nursing Home started with orientation to staff (Nursing, Practitioners, Non- medical staff), online training on HIPPA, Basic hospital safety rules, patient care, Hazard awareness, and a tour of the facility.

During the first week, I had the opportunity to see the Nursing Home (NH) with Jason Bustin, PA-C and Hannah Brown, PAC. At the nursing home, we saw 3 patients with ulcers on heels, wounds on amputation and buttocks. There was a staff meeting with PT, OT, Nurses, RT, where we discussed patients in the NH and how they are doing and better ways to improve treatment and manage their health. We spent most morning and afternoons with PA Jason and Hannah seeing patients with skin tags, pre-op physicals for hernia repair, falls injury. From clinic closure until mid night, we spent most of the time at the ER seeing patient with head injuries, leg lacerations, dental pain, foot evulsions. I was able to put in sutures on the foot injuries, stapled head injury, gave injections on trigger points, placed cast on foot, and do lip sutures as well as dental block for dental ache. I feel I have grown in my ability to communicate effectively with my patients and address their concerns. I felt both an increase in my confidence and knowledge in treating and managing patient conditions.

I was able to practice learned skills and also attempt new ones in the first two weeks of my inter-professional experience understanding my own competence and scope of practice as it guides me to good clinical practice and the delivery of my care to my patients. Most of the mornings and afternoons were spent in the clinic and the evenings and nights were spent at the ER. We spent an average of 12hrs/day at the hospital and nursing homes except for weekends where we spent the whole day at the ER. We were always on ER call in times where we were outside the hospital site.

Early part of most days were spent at the nursing home where we (my REHPS colleague, the nurses, health providers) did wound care on several patients (average of 5). Common wounds addressed were abdominal, hip, trochanteric, elbow, coccyx, and foot wounds. I was able to place Foley catheter in patients with urinary retention and dribbling that were admitted. I was able to visit the labs where I understood how various samples are processed to get better results that directs patient care. I also appreciated the time it took for samples to get ready.

At the clinic, I was able to see patients with insomnia, irritable bowel disease, lower back pain, cough, sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, migraine headache, sore throat, ADHD, and back pain. I was able to perform multiple injections which included antibiotic, steroid shots, and pain medications.

The evenings were spent at the ER where we saw patients with chest pain, shortness of breath, ST elevation myocardial infarction, injuries, gunshot wounds, rib pain, assault injuries, suicidal/homicidal ideation, and COPD exacerbation. I was also able to dress wounds and review chest x-rays, fractures, and injuries with my preceptor as well as do sutures on hand and face/lip lacerations on my own.

Interaction with other health professionals was one of the things I really enjoyed during this experience since they all offered unique expertise. The nurses have been helpful to me a lot too. I have understood that poor communication between members of inter-professional teams affects the quality of care patients receive and can result in any number of bad experiences for the patients therefore it is very important to involve patient and family in their care. I really like the idea of meeting in-patients at the bed side with the whole care team and updating the patients and family about their health status and plan of care as well as progress. This was the first unique experience I had when I consider all my other clinical experiences.

Region VII Learning Series: Strategies to Address Opioid and Prescription Drug Misuse

CR_ATTC_webinar_series(2)HRSA is pleased to announce a 5-part Learning Series brought to you by a collaborative effort with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Central Rockies Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC) that will outline Strategies to Address Opioid and Prescription Drug Misuse in the healthcare setting. This Learning Series is offered free of charge to all clinicians serving HRSA programs. Please share this opportunity widely within your program and with colleagues. Continuing Education is being pursued for a variety of health professions, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, certified health education specialists, certified public health, and other professionals (CME, CNE,CPE, CECH, CPH, CEU).

Click the link below for more information. 

Please take a moment to explore this link:


Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students Finishes its Sixth Year


(Left to Right Seated): Elizabeth Murray, April Lick, Shannon Miller, Emily Young, Haylee Erickson, Rebecca Jarratt, Ashley Reierson, Rebecca Runge, Nathan Wunder, (Second row, standing, left to right) Mariah Taylor, Kristin Fiegen, Tanya Ochsner, Lauren Fanta, Ali Haines, Laura Rezac, Alyssa Kerkaert, Mandy Wilde, Lauren Kuschel, Kiel Grant (Back row, left to right) Joseph Bretschneider, Betsy Price, Nathan Smith, Wade Johnson, Rick Heiman, Nicholas Purcell, Spencer Kurtz, Rebecca Donaldson, and David Boedeker.

Fourteen South Dakota communities welcomed 28 health professions students for four weeks during the summer of 2016. The Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS) summer experience is designed to bring health professions graduates back to rural South Dakota for rewarding careers. Communities selected to participate in the REHPS summer experience must have populations under 10,000 people and house a critical access hospital.

The 2016 REHPS communities were: Bowdle, Chamberlain, Custer, Faulkton, Hot Springs, Miller, Parkston, Philip, Platte, Redfield, Sisseton, Sturgis, Wagner, and Winner. In its sixth year, REHPS is designed to not only expose students to the world of rural healthcare, but it also brings two students from different disciplines together for an interprofessional experience. The students were selected through a competitive process. Students were enrolled in one of the following programs at SDSU and USD: clinical psychology, family nurse practitioner, medical, medical laboratory science, physician assistant, pharmacy, and social work.

One of the 2016 REHPS students was Rebecca Runge, a medical student from the Sanford School of Medicine at USD, who is experienced rural healthcare at Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital in Miller, just 12 miles from her home of Wessington.

After her first week, Runge commented: “I wake up each morning excited to start my day and fall asleep each evening imagining what coming back to practice here would be like.”

Students are inspired by the experience, due in large part to the host communities, and their professionals’ mentoring skills. Rebecca Donaldson, a master of social work student from USD, wrote about her experience in Faulkton.

“The REHPS program gave me the opportunity to not only work with various individuals from different disciplines, but I was able to see how the social work profession can play a crucial role in the health profession. I experienced the rural community first hand and have a grasp on the importance of rural health care. I hope to apply the knowledge and experiences I gained to my future profession as a social worker,” Donaldson wrote.

REHPS receives funding from the Office of Rural Health/South Dakota Department of Health and is managed by the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center. Follow the student’s experiences at

2016 Healthcare Video Contest Winners


Three teams of South Dakota high school students shared cash prizes of $2,000 with their schools by using creativity in telling the story of the state’s healthcare workforce shortage through 26-second videos. Their videos are posted online in an effort to educate their peers about the state’s workforce needs and the possibilities available with healthcare careers.

The contest was sponsored by the SD Association of Health Care Organizations, the SD Healthcare Workforce Center, Midco and Yankton Rural AHEC. The contest aims to bring a greater awareness to high school students, their peers and others about the demand for healthcare workers in the state.

Baylor DeVries, a Harrisburg High School senior took top prize with her video entitled “Save a Life.” DeVries composed the video as part of an EMT course and worked with her HOSA advisor Angela Wachal. Both the Harrisburg High School and DeVries took home a $500 prize for a total $1,000 package. HOSA – Future Health Professionals is a student organization with chapters nationwide providing educational activities encompassing health care careers and topics.

The winning video along with the runner-ups are posted online here.

Two entries took runner-up prizes of $500 each to be split with their schools. Shelby Price, a senior at Langford Area High School, took runner-up with her video: “Make a Difference.” Project instructor was Harlan Heitz, anatomy instructor and guidance counselor. Also taking runner-up honors were: senior, Jesse Mikrut; sophomore, Matthew Larsen and sophomore, James Cutshaw – students at Wolsey-Wessington High School. Their video “Fill the Need – Be an EMT” was a project of Multi-Media Design class instructed by Caroline McGillvrey.


2016 South Dakota EMS Contest




South Dakota EMS Participants are invited to enter the 2016 EMS Contest, “EMS Strong, Called to Care.” Application deadline is June 30, 2016.

National EMS Week is May 15 through 21
Emergency Medical Services for Children Day is May 18

“EMS Strong, Called to Care”

South Dakota Emergency Medical Services for Children will be awarding contest winners radio ads promoting their EMS program, highlighting special events and needs they have. Take advantage of the special event ideas to gain recognition for your EMS program and for the professionals who are integral to its success.

Only South Dakota EMS services may participate in the contest. Preference will be given to activities with a “BUCKLE UP’ focus. EMSC activity ideas include: seat belt survey, transition from booster seat to seat belt education, bike rodeo, distribute teen traffic contest. See the documents below for the entry form and information sheet. Call 605-328-6669 or 605-328-6668 with questions.

2016 Called to Care

2016 EMS Contest Registration

SMART goals for 2016

bigstock-Sport-Couple-Of-Athletes-Succe-50307215Many of us who decided to set wellness or exercise goals for 2016 likely have already identified those goals. Perhaps now is a good time to step back and consider whether those goals are realistic. With a quick Google search, the idea of SMART goal setting popped up at multiple sites.

We’ll just touch on the highlights. We encourage you to look at it more closely. It’s a good system for a variety of goal setting tasks at work and in your personal life.

Developing SMART goals entails: being Specific, setting Measurable goals, creating Attainable goals (others cite Assignable goals – specifying who will do it), selecting Relevant goals for you (or your team) (others use “realistic”), and ensuring goals are Time-related – that there’s a time-frame when your goal can be achieved.

The idea of SMART goals is commonly attributed to George T. Doran, a consultant and corporate planner, who published an article in 1981 outlining the concept. Fifty years ago, Peter Drucker also became known in the corporate goal setting world with management by objectives principles.

Whether it’s for business or health, there are some common objectives for setting goals. Saying you want to be healthier in 2016 or you want to exercise more in 2016, may not be specific enough, or measurable. Perhaps try setting smaller goals that set you on the path to those two general milestones. Maybe you are consistently getting 3,500 steps daily. Set a goal for more steps, achieve it, and you are on your way.

You might also think about SMART goals for career planning, etc.

Take a look at this wikiHow for more ideas on goal setting.


High School Students: Thinking about entering the Video Contest?

Don’t forget time is ticking on the 2016 Healthcare Video Contest. Entries are due Feb. 17, 2016.

We found an interesting resource from Understand Media. We realize students entering the healthcare video contest do not have media budgets or expensive equipment; but this article might give you some ideas of what public service announcements are all about.

One thing to keep in mind, as Understand Media mentions is the importance of selecting your approach. Who is the target market and what is your purpose? The Healthcare Video Contest focuses on creating awareness about healthcare workforce needs, in particular with this year’s contest – the need for Certified Nursing Assistants and EMTs/Paramedics.

Who are the people that may be thinking about careers right now? For one, people just like you – who are in high school and thinking about their future careers. There could be others, too, who have already been in the workforce but are thinking about a different career.

Another tip for developing PSAs: Grab your listener’s attention.

Understand Media also mentions ideas about how to use language. How might you go about creating a connection between the announcer and the listener?

Remember you only have 26 seconds. Understand Media suggests narrowing the message’s focus. Some of the most recognized PSAs are very simple, remember the frying pan and the egg? As the Center for Digital Education points out, that PSA consisted of only 15 words: “This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs? Any questions?”

The Center for Digital Education has an itemized list to get started on creating a PSA.

We look forward to viewing your entries. Don’t hesitate to contact Yankton Rural AHEC with any questions.

Here’s a link to video contest information.


2016 Healthcare Video Contest Underway!

WaytogoCNA$2,000 in cash prizes to be awarded in the 2016 South Dakota Healthcare Video Contest

YANKTON, S.D. – A short message promoting healthcare careers could earn a creative high school team a $1,000 prize to be split with their school. Two runners-up will each split $500 with their schools, for a total of $2,000 in cash prizes to be awarded in the 2016 Healthcare Video contest.

South Dakota students, grades 9 through 12, are encouraged to create a 26-second video promoting the healthcare careers of Certified Nursing Assistants and/or Emergency Medical Technicians/Paramedics.

Three paramedics stand outside an ambulance and emergency room.South Dakota’s healthcare industry is projected to be among the largest growth industries from 2012-2022. The industry is expected to add 7,305 workers to South Dakota’s economy, which is a 13.8% growth almost double the 7% growth projected for all industries. The 65 and older population will increase by 95% between 2015 and 2035.

Videos will be judged on four criteria: educational value, entertainment value, originality and content. Videos are to be 26 seconds with no more than five participants per team.

The contest is sponsored by the SD Association of Healthcare Organizations, the SD Healthcare Workforce Center, Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center (YRAHEC) and Midcontinent Communications. The winning video may appear on regional television as a public service announcement, which will be determined by the sponsors based on entries received.

The contest aims to bring a greater awareness to high school students, their peers and others about the demand for healthcare workers in the state.

Contact your high school counselor or Yankton Rural AHEC for more information. Visit for contest details, forms and rules. Telephone YRAHEC at 605-655-1400. Entry deadline to YRAHEC is Feb. 17, 2016.


Scrubs Camp – Yankton Oct. 6, 2015

Yankton Rural AHEC hosted a Scrubs Camp on October 6th in the Avera Sacred Heart Professional Office Pavilion. High school students from 11 area schools attended the day designed to bring hands on activities in healthcare career exploration. The camp increases awareness, interest and understanding of the healthcare career opportunities in South Dakota. Avera Sacred Heart President/CEO Doug Ekeren welcomed the students and encouraged them to be involved in the healthcare field in any way they could, from volunteering and shadowing to becoming a CNA before attending college.

The students had a busy day with presentations on different careers including: Dietitian, EMT and Paramedics, Behavioral Health, Radiologic Tech, SDMyLife, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatrician, and LPN/CNA. Exhibitors included USD, WIT, SDSU, MMC, Augustana, MTI, SD Human Services Center, Avera Senior Services and Yankton Rural AHEC. Thank you to our regional exhibitors and speakers from Yankton County EMS, Avera Sacred Heart School of Radiologic Technology, Hy-Vee, SD Human Services Center, SDMyLife, SDSU, Yankton Medical Clinic, and Allied Health for making Scrubs Camp such a success!

The video will give you a glimpse at the activity-filled day.

Contact Corryn Celmer, Yankton Rural AHEC program specialist, with questions or comments regarding Scrubs Camp.

Yankton Rural AHEC: 605-655-1400 or email

Do you have a preteen or teen? Protect their future with vaccines.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month which serves as a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.

Taking them to their sports physical, making sure they eat healthy and get plenty
of sleep … you know these are crucial to your adolescent’s health. But did you
also you know your preteens and teens need vaccines to stay healthy and
protected against serious diseases?

As they get older, preteens and teens are at increased risk for some infections.
Plus the protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines begins to wear
off, so preteens need a booster dose. You may have heard about whooping
cough (pertussis) outbreaks recently. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still
around and very real. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your
kids, as well as their friends, community, and other family members.

There are four vaccines recommended for all preteens at ages 11 to 12. Teens
may also need a booster dose of one of the shots or get any shots they may
have missed. You can use any health care visit, including sports or camp
physicals, checkups or some sick visits, to get the shots your kids need. The
vaccines recommended for preteen and teen girls and boys are:

• Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which protects
against four types of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is
caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis – a
serious infection around the brain and spinal cord – in teens and young
• HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most
commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause future cancers of the cervix,
vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both
women and men, HPV also causes mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer,
anal cancer and genital warts.
• Tdap vaccine, which is a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and
pertussis. Pertussis (whooping cough) can keep kids out of school and
activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies who are too young to
be vaccinated, and this disease can be very dangerous and sometimes
deadly for babies.
• Influenza (flu) vaccine, because even healthy kids can get the flu, and it
can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the
flu vaccine every year. Parents should also get vaccinated to protect
themselves and to help protect their children.

Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your
preteens and teens need. Vaccines are a crucial step in keeping your kids

Want to learn more about the vaccines for preteens and teens? Check out or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.