During my first two weeks in the REHPs program, I have had an incredible learning experience in Winner at Winner Regional Healthcare Center (WRHC). I come from the small town of Wynot, Nebraska and am very interested in the workings of a rural hospital such as WRHC. As an occupational therapy student on my first level II clinical rotation, I am spending 75% of my time with occupational therapy and approximately 25% of my time observing other disciplines. Thus, I have observed a total knee arthroplasty and a cesarean section, as well as rounding with Dr. Taylor on the inpatients, outpatient urology sessions with Dr. Childs, and physical therapy sessions. I have also had the opportunity to meet with the respiratory therapist, MDS coordinator, and social services worker to discuss their roles and routines and how they relate to occupational therapy. These experiences have really helped me to get a better understanding of interdisciplinary collaboration within the hospital and what impact the therapy department has on them and vice versa. I really have enjoyed seeing how team members from different disciplines work together to ensure each patient gets exactly the care that he or she needs. I feel like this opportunity has already instilled a sense of pride in me regarding the work I will be doing in the future, with the perception that I will be a small part of a much larger picture.
Additionally, my REHPs partner, Sydney, and I have enjoyed living in the community of Winner. We were able to enjoy some coffee and donuts at the bakery downtown before going into the hospital one morning and also had the opportunity to present on fall prevention at the community health fair. This was a fun and engaging opportunity that allowed us to remind community members of the prevalence and consequences of falls. We were able to discuss risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of falls. Overall, I am so grateful for the many wonderful people I have met in Winner, who have welcomed me and shared their knowledge and expertise with me. I am excited to see what is in store for me in the next two weeks as I know I will learn a lot and continue to have a better understanding of the roles of various health professionals.
The final two weeks of the REHPs program has brought several exciting experiences for me. These include observing appointments at the jail with a PA, working with my REHPs partner to gather medications for the inpatients, learning more about pharmacy, observing high risk OB outpatient visits, and following a certified nurse practitioner in the clinic. I also had the opportunity to spend a day observing community outreach at White River and Mission with a doctor, I observed a barium swallow study in radiology, and I spent time learning about community health programs in town, including toenail clinic, WIC, and family planning. These were all unique experiences that have shaped my perception of rural healthcare and have helped me to better understand the needs of patients and the challenges that other healthcare disciplines experience. I have also appreciated gaining hands-on experience in occupational therapy and observing the process from evaluation to discharge. In the community, I enjoyed experiencing Winner Summer Nights and having lunch at the White River Drive-in. Overall, REHPs has been a truly wonderful experience that has enhanced my ability to collaborate with and understand the roles of other healthcare professionals. I am grateful for the unique experiences that I have had the opportunity to be a part of because of the REHPs program, and I have no doubt that I will look back on them throughout my career.