My first week in Parkston has been a welcoming one. I have split my time between two locations: Our Home Inc. and Avera St. Benedict Hospital and Clinic. At both locations, I already feel at home. At Our Home, I have spent time with youth who are sexual abuse survivors, sexually aggressive, and/or struggling with addiction. I have been able to sit in on treatment planning sessions, emergency management trainings, group therapy sessions, and staff meetings. At Avera, I continued to expand my own behavioral health understanding by participating in two music therapy sessions at the nursing home. I also have had wonderful opportunities in interdisciplinary areas. I was able to spend a busy morning in Physical Therapy, where I observed a variety of things, from dry needling to exercises, inpatient to outpatient treatment, and treatment with adults and children. I also spent some time in the general clinic and participated in a evacuation drill of the nursing home. One week in, and I am already impressed with the community of Parkston and the variety of activities I have been able to engage in. I look forward to the rest of my time in this town and at these facilities.
My second week in Parkston was a short one with the fourth of July holiday. During this time, I spent more time at Our Home, visited the Lake Andes clinic, and went to do some community health work with a Hutterite colony and an Amish family. At Lake Andes, I shadowed a mental health counselor as she met with patients face-to-face. This was the first time I was able to sit in on individual mental health appointments, which was exciting. I also was very excited to go to the Hutterite colony and Amish family. This was a cultural experience that I did not expect to have and I don’t imagine that I will ever have this learning experience again.
My third week, I continued to spend time at Our Home, both at the Parkston and Huron clinics. In addition, I shadowed a hospitalist, pharmacy, medical lab science, and psychiatry appointments. It was interesting to see some behind-the-scenes work in fields I was not so familiar with. I especially valued observing the psychiatry appointments. Again, it was nice to sit in on one-to-one appointments between a mental health professional and patients, as this is often not possible in the mental health field due to stigma and confidentiality. This also provided me with an interesting glimpse into a field that is both very similar and vastly different from clinical psychology.