My experience at Winner Regional Healthcare Center in Winner, SD, was a well-rounded interprofessional experience that has benefited me as a health care provider in many ways. The staff worked with me to ensure I got to see different professions or areas of healthcare that I was particularly interested in learning more about.
Much of my time was spent in the pharmacy where I got to learn from three different pharmacists throughout the experience. This was incredibly beneficial to me, as I got to see first-hand how I would be applying the education in my future career. It was also a fantastic look into what a hospital pharmacist does. The rural setting was a great example of this as the pharmacists acted as clinical, hospital, long-term care, and retail pharmacists. I spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of a rural healthcare setting with the pharmacists. Each pharmacist took the time to review important topics with me, and when I wasn’t familiar with something, they would make sure we came back to it in our free time so that I could learn more. Overall, my time spent in the pharmacy not only augmented my education, but it also helped me learn more about what I might want my career as a pharmacist to look like in the future.
Being in a critical access hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic was also a great educational experience. Allocation and ordering of vaccines, especially in a pharmacy with limited space and resources, was something I got to learn a lot about. These conversations helped me understand more about what management in a healthcare setting looks like.
Other professions I spent time with were nursing staff, medical lab technicians, PT/OT, medical doctors of various specialties, radiology, and speech pathology. During my time with radiology, I got to see many different types of scans and learn more about what they’re used for and how they work. In the outpatient clinic, I got to observe a urologist, nephrologist, cardiologist, and an orthopedic surgeon. These all presented unique experiences to hear about different disease states of patients. Specifically, my time with the nephrologist was very interesting because I got to see how telehealth works at Winner Regional. I had never seen that technology before, and it was very eye-opening to see the lengths that the staff goes to in order to provide their rural community members with the best patient care possible.
My major take-away from the experience was becoming more educated on each team member of a healthcare facility. Now, in conversation with other professionals, I will be better equipped for contribution because I am vastly more familiar with terminology than I was before this experience. Another one of my favorite things during this time was something I noticed on the very first day. In school, we spend a lot of time learning how to talk to patients in order to accurately obtain information from them. I truly enjoyed getting to learn new strategies and different ways of asking questions from each professional that I worked with. The DO in Winner actually took some time to explain to me why he phrases certain questions in certain ways, and it was very eye-opening and helpful.
Overall, my time in Winner was an incredible educational experience that equipped me with many tools to advance my education and career. I’m very appreciative for my placement in Winner where I was welcomed by so many friendly people into their healthcare system.