2018 REHPS Holden Sjogren

Mid-Experience Reflection

Before starting the REHPS summer experience, I had no idea what to expect from Martin, SD.  Nothing could have prepared me for some of the things I’ve been fortunate enough to experience thus far at the Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home. After two short weeks, I have already learned so much from the staff and the experiences have given me more clinical knowledge than I thought possible in such a short amount of time.

I was very interested to see what the pharmacy looked like within the Bennett County Hospital.  Much to my surprise, the hospital pharmacy was a relatively new addition and is still being developed.  The pharmacist, Desiree, explained to me how she set it up earlier in the year as well as what needs to be done before the project is finished. Desiree also taught me a lot about the responsibilities involved for a hospital pharmacy to also be responsible for the nursing home and its residents.  She showed me the process of ordering medications for the nursing home and for the hospital, how the emergency kits are inventoried, and let me explore the contents of the crash cart.   I was able to package medications for a hospital as well as fill medication cards for a nursing home, which are two things that I have never been able to do before.  Desiree has already taught me so much in a short amount of time, especially about starting up a pharmacy.  This is something that most other students will not get to see, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn about and be a part of it.

At orientation, I wrote that I would like to work with other health care professionals.  I really wanted to see where pharmacists fit within the puzzle and also witness how nurses, physician assistants (PA), and other hospital staff members work within the healthcare team.  Between the clinic, emergency room, and the nursing home, I have helped and observed with interpreting x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, suturing of wounds, stapling a laceration on the head, attending patient care plan meetings, as well as participating in many other interesting cases around the facility.  I have spent a lot of time with the PAs Cathy, Hannah, and Jason who have all been extremely helpful in facilitating my clinical knowledge.

Halfway through my summer experience, I can say that I have already learned more than I ever thought possible. I would not have been able to do it without the help of the great staff here at Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home.  I am excited for the learning experiences to come in the next two weeks!

Final Reflection

Now that the REHPS Summer Experience has finished, I can say that I still have no idea what to expect from a single work day in Martin, SD.  I have learned so much from the staff at Bennett County Hospital (BCH), and I could have learned so much more if I had more time.  After almost four weeks at BCH, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and wish that it could have lasted longer.

As previously stated in my mid-experience reflection, I have never worked in a hospital or nursing home pharmacy before, so almost everything was new to me.  Within the BCH pharmacy, I was able to compound/make medications, fill medication boxes for hospital patients, replace expired medications in the emergency room (ER), take part in a medication reconciliation and patient care plan meetings, analyze treatment options and calculate doses, and have many other new experiences.  Because the BCH pharmacy was recently established, I was also able to participate in purchasing an automated dispensing system, witness preparation for a South Dakota Board of Pharmacy visit, aid with registration for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, as well as ask questions regarding processes completed prior to my summer experience.  During my time in Martin, I also visited the Indian Health Service (IHS) clinic and visited with the pharmacist named Chad.  I was able to learn a little about how IHS works as a whole and how a pharmacy works within that system.  I had such a great experience with the pharmacies in Martin, and I would like to thank Desiree and Chad for taking time out of their days to further my learning.

During my experience, I spent a lot of time working with other health care professionals, especially with nurses and physician assistants (PAs).  I spent time in both the clinic setting as well as the ER.  In the clinic, I was able to participate in visiting patients with insomnia, cough/sore throat, sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, and many others.  In the ER, I was able to witness patients with chest pain, myocardial infarction, broken bones, assault injuries, gunshot wounds, suicide ideations, COPD exacerbation, and other cases that were included the mid-experience reflection.  I was also able to listen in on the regional trauma meeting via conference call, which featured a trauma case from BCH.  The clinic and the ER gave me great insight into what certain health professionals do in specific situations and how treatments are decided, as well as also how a pharmacist may fit within each situation.  I would like to thank all of the staff at BCH for making me feel like part of the team and also for helping me further my clinical knowledge as a pharmacist.

I would like to reiterate how much I enjoyed the REHPS Summer Experience, and how it ended too soon.  I also want to thank all of the people that made this experience possible, and gave me the opportunity to spend four weeks in Martin, SD.  This program has guided me in the direction I want to go in pharmacy, and possibly to the type of area I want to practice in the future.