My first year as a PA student we learned about the REHPS program, and I instantly knew that I wanted to be involved. Growing up in the Martin community I understood some of the challenges the come with working in a rural area, but I also knew that I would never truly appreciate those challenges until I was facing them. I immediately signed up for the program and hoped to return to Martin for this program, which I was fortunate enough to have happen.
I had just finished a rotation at Bennett County Hospital in Martin before starting the REHPS program, so I was able to hit the ground running. I was primarily involved in the Rural Health Clinic and the Emergency room in the hospital. I was able to see patients who I had known my whole life in the clinic, and also care for life threatening conditions in the ER. In the ER I had to opportunity to intubate a patient who suffered a severe trauma, as well as deliver a baby in an ambulance while trying to transfer the mother to a facility which could provide obstetric care.
During my time in Martin, I was also able to follow with other specialties including PT, OT, Pharmacy, and wound care. Bennett County Hospital is not a large facility, so making use of all the available space is necessary. It also forces therapy to sometimes be inventive with their treatments. It was incredible to see the creative thinking at work for how best to help patients return to functional activity.
One of the greatest aspects of working in Martin is the community and how people work together. Many employees of the hospital must be involved with several committees, as well as hold multiple responsibilities to ensure that the facility can function as best as it can. These people also will go out of their way to help their community. The best example of this was during the High School Rodeo in Martin. I was helping in the ER when I was asked to come to the fairgrounds to help with a horse who had been injured and was bleeding profusely. When I arrived, there were several members of the hospital staff helping with this horse. I started suturing alongside the local veterinarian who happens to be my grandfather. Thanks to the assistance of the hospital staff and multiple other members of the community, there was a great outcome for the horse.
While some of the challenges and situations that arise in Martin are vastly different than those encountered elsewhere, it also makes for a unique, tightknit population. I am excited for my future as I will be returning to Bennett County Hospital, Nursing Home, and Rural Health Clinic following graduation to provide care for my community.