My first week in Britton has been a very eye-opening experience that has showed me what it is like to work as a practitioner in a rural area. I have had the chance to work in the clinic, hospital, and emergency room, and even had the chance to go on an ambulance ride. I have learned that being in a rural area presents with challenges in providing healthcare. One of the biggest challenges is getting patients to a larger facility in the case of an emergency. One patient I saw needed to be transported to a facility 60 miles away for emergency surgery, and unfortunately a nearby air ambulance was not available. The patient ended up travelling by land because that was faster, taking a little over 40 minutes. While distance can be a challenge, it is fortunate that the hospital here has x-ray and CT capabilities. A few years ago they did not have a CT machine, and that greatly limited diagnosis abilities, especially in emergent situations.
This has been a very enlightening and positive experience thus far. I feel that the community has gone out of their way to welcome us to town. Everyone has been really friendly and inclusive. I have only been here one week, but have already been invited to people’s houses and graduation parties and had the chance to eat breakfast every morning with the assisted living residents. I feel like I am getting to know this community very well, and I am excited to see what the following weeks have in store!
I can’t believe this is the last week of our REHPS experience here in Britton. The time flew by so fast! We’ve had so many great experiences and met so many amazing people. This has been unlike any of my “normal” rotations for PA school. Instead, it has been filled so many different healthcare professions and community activities.
I got the chance to not only spend time in the clinic, hospital, and ER, but also to spend time at the nursing home, physical therapy, assisted living, and the local pharmacy. We got to do home health visits, and really get to know the patients that we are working with. The variety of healthcare areas kept things interesting and educational.
Our REHPS project was to help teach a class called Stop the Bleed. We taught the dairy workers at Veblen as well as some of the staff at Marshall County Healthcare Center (MCHC) about how to properly apply a tourniquet and pack a wound, should they ever run into a situation where they or someone around them is bleeding heavily.
Small town living isn’t just about work though, it’s also about getting involved in the community! We helped with the Britton Public Library reading program, helping children of multiple age groups with different crafts. We went out to the baseball fields and lent a hand with the concession stand. We even got to meet the local Lions Club and teach them about REHPS.
One of my favorite things we got to do was go to the Fort Sisseton Festival with our boyfriends who were visiting us in town, and with Sheila, who oversees Human Resources at MCHC. Fort Sisseton is a State Historical Park, so we got to learn a little history while also checking out the food vendors and arts and crafts booths. My favorite part was learning how to fire a cannon! It was a great time.
I am really appreciative that I was given the opportunity to participate in REHPS. I have met some amazing people and made memories that I will never forget. I hope that one day practicing as a PA will be just as great of an experience.