After completing my four weeks in Huron, I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this program. I had so many experiences that I would not have had without this opportunity. I have so much gained insight and knowledge of rural healthcare. I encourage anyone going into healthcare to participate in this program especially those who come from and want to return to rural communities as they will see how truly rewarding it really is.
First Two Weeks:
Participating in the REHPS program was a truly wonderful experience. With Huron being a larger community than most of the other REHPS sites, I was unsure of what to expect. Huron Regional Medical Center and its employees were welcoming and provided valuable insight on what practicing in rural healthcare entails.
During the first half of my experience, I immediately noticed how much the Huron residents valued the healthcare facilities in the community. Despite being a critical access facility, Huron Regional Medical Center was able to provide several services for their patients. Throughout this experience, I heard several patients express their gratitude for not only the care they receive at HRMC, but also that they are able to receive their care without having to drive over an hour to a larger facility. I was able to visit numerous areas throughout HRMC during the first half of my experience including purchasing, the Physicians Clinic, pharmacy, cardiac rehab, home care, marketing, surgery, social services, and fundraising and community outreach. I also had the opportunity to visit with HRMC’s CEO and attend their Employee of the Month celebration.
During the first few weeks, I was able to start recognizing how different areas of the facility related to pharmacy and how they interacted with one another. It was good to see how different areas performed their specific tasks while also hearing their perspectives on different things. I was able to get a better understanding of what other departments do which I believe will help me work more effectively with them throughout my career.
The first time I really got a sense of Huron’s rural atmosphere when a motor vehicle accident occurred one weekend that filled HRMC’s emergency room. With an inadequate number of staff members working at that time to cover the incoming patient load, several employees were called in for support. Numerous employees came in to the hospital and a large number of them stepped into roles that were not their own for the sole purpose of making sure these patients were taken care of which, to me, is what embodies rural communities.
Second Two Weeks:
The second half of my experience really drove home how valuable healthcare professionals and facilities are to rural communities. I was able to visit several different areas again including Health Information Management, quality assessment and risk management, medical floor, imaging, lab, IT, pharmacy, business office, kitchen, dietetics, and rehabilitation services which included physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. I admire those that have a passion for rural healthcare because it really takes a lot of work and commitment to be one of the very few, if not the only, individuals working in their field to provide care for an entire community.