After completing the REHPS program at Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center, I would recommend that all students pursuing a professional career in healthcare apply and experience this program firsthand. REHPS gave me opportunities that I would have never had outside of the program, and I gained valuable knowledge and experience throughout my 3 weeks. Normal shadowing opportunities do not dive as deep into how rural healthcare truly works as REHPS.
Throughout my time at Chamberlain, I was able to meet with most of the different departments that make the medical center run. From nurses to maintenance to laundry to the lab, I was able to hear how each piece of the hospital plays a vital role in the wellbeing of patients. Without one or the other, the patients would suffer, and the hospital would fail. The teamwork component includes tasks that may not be in your job description but will benefit other areas of the medical center along with positive patient care. I learned how vital the role of teamwork needs to be in a rural community and how critical it is to keep rural healthcare systems up and running. Without rural healthcare systems, many of rural patients would not receive proper healthcare treatment. It amazed me how many workers wore many hats throughout the hospital, sacrificing some of their time to help in other departments. Many department leaders would also dedicate time away from their duties to work on the floor or extra shifts while shorthanded.
REHPS was an amazing experience that I will never forget, and it will positively impact my future career in rural healthcare for many years to come. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience, and I hope that other students after me will receive the chance to experience rural healthcare firsthand.