During my first two weeks in Parkston, SD I have spent time working with the various disciplines that a rural healthcare facility can offer but more importantly, I have felt welcomed and included by the hospital and community. I have had the opportunity to work within the clinic, hospital, and even took a trip out to the Oak Lane Hutterite colony to perform wellness physicals. I have also spent some time in radiology and in the lab. As a practitioner, we often order labs and diagnostic imaging but it was cool to see what goes on behind the scenes to get doctors and advanced practice providers the information they need for their patients. I also worked with Dr. Richard Honke developing treatment plans at Our Home Inc., a psychiatric residential treatment center for adolescents. We participated in an evacuation at the nursing home during our first week as well. There are a lot of moving parts that allow a rural facility like Parkston to provide high quality care to the people of this community and it has been an enriching first two weeks to see how all of those parts come together.
The time has flown by here in Parkston. It’s hard to believe our time here is done. During my time in Parkston I have enjoyed working with the various disciplines and get involved as a part of their health care team. Parkston has outreach providers come to Parkston multiple times per week to accommodate this region with access to similar specialties that they would receive in a bigger city. I have enjoyed working in the clinic and with the hospitalists and learning more about diseases and disorders I will encounter in my future as a PA. More importantly, I have gained a new appreciation for the interdisciplinary health care that takes place in a rural facility like Parkston. I got to experience the small town restaurants and chat with local “coffee drinkers” about my experiences and I was able to learn more about Parkston from people who’ve lived here their whole lives. Rachel and I hosted a “Home Alone” program for children ages 9 to educate them on how to stay safe when they are left at home alone. We had a good turnout for our program and the kids had a great time.
Both Avera St. Benedict and the community of Parkston have made this experience one to remember. During this REHPS experience I have learned a lot about the medical professions needed to keep a small rural facility up and running. But I’ve also got to experience what it means to be a welcomed part of a rural community. Thank you, Parkston!