Gabby Iversen Blog

Gabby Iversen on her time in Chamberlain

Week One

We started the week off meeting with Jess Neilsen (Marketing Coordinator) who gave us a tour of the hospital and clinic and introduced us to everyone that we will be working with while we are here. She then took us to go see our “new home away from home.” Our housing in town is a nice little apartment on the St. Jo’s Indian School that is right on the river with large windows in the living room which frames a beautiful view of the river. The first night there was the most gorgeous sunset over the river and my partner Katie and I decided this apartment would be a very nice place to spend part of our summer. Jess also took us on a tour of Chamberlain. She showed us downtown which has lots of cute little shops, restaurants, and bars. For a town of 2,000 they even have a movie theatre which I was surprised by. They have a few nice camp grounds with volleyball courts and a small beach on the river as well. We did go and check out the beach one day and have ate at quite a few of the restaurants in town and have shopped at a few of the boutiques as well.

Most of my time at work has been spent in the clinic and ER with the PA in town Beau Bran who is a phenomenal teacher. I do have to say that his patients are probably some of the nicest I have encountered in my rotations. They are all very excited and welcoming to have me when I come in to see them. They are very genuine and friendly people. It is so interesting how everyone knows everyone here. Beau will go in and see a patient and know all about their kids and what is going in in their lives. Which I think can be good and bad to know that much about your patients! I have gotten to do some suturing and splinting in the ER. I also got to watch an emergency c-section as well with a woman who had a placental abruption. I spent some time with Dr. Reynes and orthopedic that comes every other week for outreach, which was great because I always feel like orthopedics is one of my weak areas in medicine. I’ve gotten some good experience in primary care so far this past week seeing patients for a large variety of issues including medication management, well child checks, injuries, physical exams, and acute problems like colds and ear infections. All the providers, nurses, and staff we have spent time with so far are all very welcoming and excited about having students. We have had a great first week in Chamberlain!

Week Two:

This week was full of variety. I worked in the clinic and the ER with my preceptor Beau and saw a lot of patients of all different ages. I got to perform a few steroid injections in knees, shoulders, and even a foot this week which was great because I don’t have a lot of experience with that so far from my other rotations. I have gotten to do some shave biopsies and cryotherapy for some precancerous skin spots as well! We went to the jail on Tuesday and saw a patient there for some depression and anxiety, Beau goes there once a week. They gave us a tour of the jail and the cells. The care center that is a part of the hospital held a picnic for the residents and their families and Katie and I got to help out with that. It was nice to work with the residents and see how happy they were to have a fun event to attend. We got to spend some time with physical therapy and the lab employees that day as well. It was pretty interesting to see how they perform all the blood tests and cultures in the lab. The director of the lab Scott was very educational and welcoming. Later in the week I spent some time with the Health Coach that works here and it was also interesting to see what her job entails. She plays an important role with the patients here and I had fun learning what she does. I also met with the billing ladies and the social worker. I really feel like I am getting a well-rounded experience here getting to work with everyone that contributes to the hospital in different ways. Overall it was a great week!

Week Three:
This week was a short one since we had a long weekend with the 4th of July, but it was still a productive one! My preceptor Beau was gone on Wednesday when we got back and so I spent the day with another provider in the ER. When we got to the ER that morning it was pretty crazy, we were shocked at what patients were there at the time. There was a patient that had serious hand injury due to a fireworks accident. The patient was transferred to Sioux Falls for surgery. There was also another patient who had been run over with a car. This patient broke a hip, but was overall okay and was able to go home and follow up with an orthopedic later that week. It was slow the rest of the morning until the afternoon when we got a few more patients, one who had chronic pancreatitis and another who ended up having a pretty severe blood infection.
On Thursday I was in the clinic with Beau and we got quite a few interesting patients. I was able to inject one patients hip with steroids and we did quite extensive workups on a few patients for abdominal pain. We had to admit one older patient for severe pneumonia and COPD exacerbation. Beau has been giving me a lot of independence in the clinic and allowing me to come up with the plans and treatments for the patients and it has been great! I am really starting to feel confident about my skills as a PA in the clinic which is good since I am graduating very soon!
Friday was quite interesting as we spent the morning in dialysis, which was great since I had never seen dialysis done before. There is a lot more to it than I ever thought. The dialysis machines are pretty amazing how they can filter the blood for the patients and clear the toxins in their body. The dialysis nurses were very informative and I learned quite a bit about the whole process. After dialysis, we spent time with the respiratory therapist at the hospital and she showed us all of their ventilation equipment and explained all the things that her job entails. We watched her do a few treatments on some patients as well. In the afternoon we went up to IHS in Fort Thompson with the social worker Patty Junke, which was a very interesting and eye-opening experience. Everyone at the clinic was very welcoming and excited for us to be there. We learned how the IHS works and got a tour of the facility! It was a good experience to see how health care works out in a rural reservation. That night when we got back we helped volunteer for the street dance they have every Friday night in Chamberlain. They have all sorts of music, food, and vendors down there. We helped set up the event and hung out and enjoyed ourselves after. It was nice to be out in the community and see what Chamberlain social life is like. Even though our week was short it was probably one of the best so far! I saw a lot of interesting patients and learned so much about this area and its healthcare!

Week Four:

This was our last week in Chamberlain and we were a little bummed to be done so soon! A lot of my time this week was spent in the clinic with Beau. It was a bit of a slower week as far as the patient load. We had quite a bit of physicals for kids going to summer camps, regular check-ups and medication checks. I got to do some suturing and skin cancer lesion removals with biopsies. I also did some more joint injections. As you can see the different procedures in the clinic are my favorite things to do! Beau has allowed me to have more and more independence as the rotation has progressed and I have enjoyed that. He always reminds the patients that I am graduating in a few weeks and the patients are always very congratulatory of that and so that makes me feel really good! It is always nice when your hard work pays off!

I think the most memorable part of the week was going on the bus tour around to all the service areas for Sanford in the area. We toured Kimball, Fort Thompson, Lower Brule, and Reliance. Even though we had gone up that way when we went to IHS last week it was a different experience this time. Scott (Lab manager) was our tour guide and he had a lot of really interesting trivia and information about the areas we visited. We got to have lunch at the casino in Fort Thompson and spend some time there. We also visited the St. Joseph Indian School museum which was very interesting. They have a lot of really beautiful art and artifacts that help illustrate Native American culture and history.

Later in the week Beau was nice enough to take us out on his boat with his family and friends which I think was an essential part of being in Chamberlain! You have to go on the river at least once! Katie and I worked on our presentation about Sex Trafficking most of the week. Our research proved that this is a bigger issue in SD than I ever thought and I really think it was a good topic to present to the Sanford employees. Everyone seemed very receptive to the topic and we appreciated those that attended it! Katie and I were sad to leave our rotation, but we made sure to thank everyone for the opportunity to work at Sanford and for teaching us so much!