Megan Dundas

Megan Dundas on her time in Parkston

Week One:

We started Monday with a tour around the Avera St. Benedict facility. Once we were done with that, we headed out to the local baseball diamond where we helped set up and man the first aid tent at the teener tournament. This tournament is our community project and we were scheduled to be there for the next three days as well—not all day, but a couple hours a day. We got to hand out sunscreen, hand sanitizer, mini first aid kits, and waters. If there were any injuries during the games, we were in charge of pulling first aid.

Tuesday, we attended a meeting in Sioux Falls that was for finalizing the award ceremony Avera does every year. After we were done with that we toured the Heart Hospital and then headed home. Once we arrived back in Parkston, we got to change and then again manned the first aid tent at the local ball field.

Wednesday, we arrived at the hospital and got to do rounds. Upon finishing that task, we got to head over to the clinic and sit in on the appointments for the day until about noon. I got to experience an ear wax removal, physical, and acupuncture appointment! It was super interesting. After that I ate lunch, and headed to an orientation meeting. This meeting acquainted us with the mission and values of Avera, as well as the history and how Avera has changed and is still changing. Once that was done, we got to change once again and sit out at the first aid tent.

Thursday, I arrived at the hospital at 8 to do rounds and from there got to sit in on a thoracentesis procedure. It was interesting seeing how this all worked and I was very impressed how much fluid one could have in their lung! After that procedure, we got to go over to the physical therapy side and learned a little bit about different massage techniques, both a technique using blades and the cupping technique. While in physical therapy, we also got to see some patients exercising and learned a little bit about women’s pelvic health. I found it really fascinating how each physical therapist had a specialty as well and could do their own special thing, depending on what a patient needed. After this we got called back over the hospital to watch a pneumothorax procedure. I really enjoyed this all because I have seen videos of this done and learned about this during basic training, but seeing it in person was awesome! After all this excitement, we attended a meeting with the hospital’s record keeper. She explained to us how much goes into credentials, quality, and compliance within the hospital. From that meeting we headed to the baseball field for the championship game, where Parkston didn’t win, but it was the best game in the entire tournament in my opinion.

Week Two:

On Monday I started my day with rounds and after those were completed I got to sit in on some Physical Therapy appointments. I got to see some different exercises used to regain shoulder strength, as well as some leg strengthening exercises. After that it was lunch time and both myself and my partner got to sit in on part of the hospital’s board meeting. We introduced ourselves and had a little lunch with them. From there, I went to lab for the remainder of the day. I had a lot of fun because I knew what they were talking about and I even got to observe a urine specimen under a microscope.

Tuesday was another busy day. In the morning, we got to go visit some of the colonies with a nurse and watch some draws. We also got to tour the kindergarten at one of the colonies and handed out stickers to all the little people. Then we came back to the hospital for an ACO meeting. I found it fascinating how much less McKennan charges compared to Mayo or larger facilities. After that we got to sit in on some Memory Clinic appointments. These were interesting to observe. I think some of the tests done for that I would even have struggled a little with.

Wednesday I got to do rounds again and then there were a few procedures I got to sit in on. The first couple were colonoscopies, followed by a feeding tube insertion. I was really impressed with how quick the feeding tube insertion was. I thought it would have taken a half hour at least, but it only took 15 minutes. After the morning’s procedures were complete I got to observe a Planet Heart appointment. This was interesting because they take a CT and do an ultrasound of the arteries to look for blockages and other abnormalities, all while educating the patient on ways to better their heart health. Then it was lunchtime and after that we went to a department head meeting. There we got to meet all the department heads and hear about the upcoming and ongoing projects of each. After that, I got the head down to speech therapy where I observed some small children learning sounds like ‘s’ and ‘l’.

Thursday I also got to do rounds and observe a hip injection. This was interesting because they use x-ray to make sure you are in the joint, to get the pain reliver directly into the source of the problem. The doctor explained that this is only a temporary way of pain relief, but it is used by many patients that either don’t want hip replacement or aren’t quite bad enough to need it yet. Once that was done, we went down to see some stress tests. Stress tests are for the heart and the patient walks until their heart rate reaches a certain level, then they can stop. The blood pressure is taken both before and after walking is completed. and after walking is completed. Then if they have a nuclear test attached to their stress test they will go get that done. After this, we went to see the behavioral health specialist and observe one of the appointments. From there, we went to Bormann Manor, the nursing home attached to the hospital, and got to hang out with the residents and help them celebrate ‘Cowboy Week’.

Friday I got to follow around the hospitalist again and do rounds. After that I went down to see cardiac rehab. Basically, the people do a variety of exercises on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc., while being hooked up to electrodes. These electrodes read the heart rate and display it on a monitor that can be read. I also got to learn how to take a blood pressure. I wasn’t very good, but I think with practice it’ll come around. After I was done observing that, I went to the clinic and got to see a variety of things, from ear wax removal to a diabetic foot.

Week Three:

On Monday, I started my day out in Radiology. I got to see a lot of different things, from touring the department to chest x-rays. There was also a very interesting procedure done that used barium and x-ray to illuminate the insides of a patient. It really was amazing how busy the radiology department is at St. Benedict’s. I went to lunch after that and then got to sit in on some physical therapy appointments that afternoon. I got to see how they rehabilitate someone with a complete knee replacement, how ultra sound works therapeutically, and some e-stim for an injured shoulder.

Tuesday was another fun-filled day, we started in the lab and got to see some urinalyses, blood draws, and got to see how they culture and incubate samples to help identify certain organisms. We took an early lunch to go and visit the Amish down by Tripp. Upon our arrival, we got the grand tour and even got to see how they go about constructing the rugs that they make with their over 200-year-old loom! It was interesting, but I was glad that we have air conditioning in our lives and it really helps one realize how big of a luxury electricity is. After we left, we had lunch and then regrouped for a long-term care meeting. From there we got to sit in on some of the behavioral specialist’s appointments and got to observe a Telemed appointment.

Wednesday morning, we can in a little earlier than required to head back to the lab to review some lab results that we cultured the day prior. After that we headed over to Our Home to sit in on some program and medical reviews with Dr. Honke. Then it was lunchtime and afterwards we got to go to health information management, which is where they code anything from inpatients to ER patients. It was interesting seeing how many different codes there are for everything and how thorough they must be in their department. From there, we headed to dietary to talk with the dietician and head of the dietary department. It was neat to see how much they do for the patients and residents, even without interacting with them directly. I ended my day talking with the Social Services coordinator. Her job is very busy and I got to see how long the waiting list was for both assisted living and the nursing home at the hospital.

On Thursday, we got to join Mary and Kerri at the colonies. We got to see how they sort of have their own little ‘clinic’ at the colony and it was interesting to see the people of the colony just come in and get examined, then leave again. It is nice that they provide these types of services to them. When we returned, we headed to the pharmacy of the hospital, which is just a tiny little room, and got to see what pharmacists do. It was crazy to see all the different drugs and how some had special directions of storage. Then it was lunch time and after that I got to join in on Bormann Manor rounds and then head down to the Tripp nursing home with Becky and got to observe some checkups there and even got to join her on a home visit. It really is amazing the outreach that Avera St. Benedict provides to not only Parkston, but the surrounding communities as well.

Week Four:

Bright and early on Monday, I got to observe some radiology procedures. First, I got to see a wrist x-ray that was neat, because they took the x-ray and then went back into their records and showed me how it used to be fractured, but now was healed to the point where you could barely even, if at all, see the fracture. Then the mobile MRI was in town so I got to sit in on a knee MRI and while I was waiting for that to be completed I also got to see a bunch of different types of MRIs, from feet, to hips, to brains. I have never had an MRI, so it was intriguing to be able to see how the machine works and some of the different types of MRIs they do. At 11, I got to join Rita and head down to the Lake Andes clinic. I got to meet the staff and take a little tour of the place. I was impressed at how many people that clinic sees and how few people they have on staff. Most of their staff are cross-trained to do basic lab and radiology procedures. Then we headed back and Ali and myself got some down-time to work on our presentation since there wasn’t much going on at the hospital or clinic that afternoon.

Tuesday was the last full day of observation and I was excited because I got to spend my entire day in lab. I got to see how busy they are in the morning all the way until they weren’t busy at all that evening. There was a lot of urine that got analyzed that day because the urologist was going to come the next day and the nephrologist was going to come the following week. The nephrologist requests his patient’s lab work gets done a week in advance, so it was sort of a crazy day filled with urinalyses. I also got to see a PICC draw which I have never seen, so that was super interesting. A PICC is a peripherally inserted central venous catheter and is basically a direct route to the heart that can be used for IV therapies, ranging from antibiotics to chemotherapy. There is a certain way to draw these patients however and it is important to be trained in this before attempting it.