Danielle on her time in Hot Springs
I arrived with my overly packed bags on Monday afternoon. As I pulled up to the clinic, my partner Kayla was messaging me that she was there as well. I was immediately overtaken by the beauty of the facility and its surroundings. Greetings were abundant as I walked in. The employees had seen my photo throughout the facility and knew exactly who I was. In the lobby, I met Kathy who was showing Kayla around the facility. I joined in the last part of their tour and shook countless hands as we roamed the gigantic facility.
The CEO took Kayla and I to the house that we would be staying at. We pulled up to a large house with plenty of cottage charm. After touring the house, Kayla and I began to unpack into our respective rooms. We got to meet another student, Greg, who was also staying at the house. That evening we bonded over the TV show, “The Office”.
Kayla and I arrived at the clinic early the next morning and the first thing we did was go to rounds. All of the medical professionals in the facility on duty (except for a few individuals that were seeing patients) met in the hospital wing to discuss the patients that were in swing bed for the day. The nurses gave a synopsis of the patient and their immediate state. Case management, OT, PT, ST, MD, pharmacy, and nursing staff were all present. It was great to see such a good connection among the staff and a common goal to get the patient well.
That afternoon, we went into the swing bed rooms of each and every patient. The same staff presences that went to each of the rooms to discuss with the patient and the loved ones the next steps for care.
The next morning, we arrived early to head over to a nursing home nearby. Shelly, my preceptor was helping the facility to set up an electronic health record. Greg, Kayla, and I all went with a nurse aid to help record medication administration and to help smooth out the transition. I learned so much about IT and how it contributes to what we do and how we record information as health care providers. This was a long process and took most of the day but I did go back to the clinic and follow some of the nursing staff regarding a patient that was recently admitted. Later in the afternoon, Shelly taught us a lot about anti-coagulation patients and how she managed the patients at one of the nearby nursing homes. I thought it was incredibly interesting!
The entire week was packed with information but the day that I learned the most had to be the day I followed Dr. Sides around as she was seeing patients in the clinic. Kayla and I were brought into every room and were able to see what she did as an MD in the clinic. I was able to see well woman exams, OB appointments, cellulitis, as well as pediatric and geriatric populations.
This week, I also got to see a G-tube medication administration, the making of IV antibiotics, how inventory was performed in the ER and for the crash carts at the facility, and so, so, so much more.
The other students and I are having plenty of fun too. Kayla and I went to a spinning class at the local gym where all of us have memberships. It was challenging but very fun. Greg, Kayla, and I went to play pool and darts at a local bowling alley and plan to return to knock down a few pins. I was able to see Mount Rushmore yesterday which was very patriotic for the Memorial Day weekend. I know we plan on doing some hiking in the near future as well. Stay tuned!:)
This week has been filled with great new experiences both professionally and personally.
One of my major highlights was making a drug in the IV hood. I had supervision from the other pharmacy student Greg, and I had completed the training. Then, I went into the clean room and made a nafcillin drip for a patient with a severe infection. It was very difficult because the bottles that the drug was suspended in were very large and hard to hold in my hands while pulling liquid from them. In the end, it was very rewarding to be able to make a drug that went into someone’s veins!
I learned a lot about nursing nomes and how physicians check in on patients and how the billing for a nursing home patient works in regard to regular health checks. Seeing and interacting with patients in the nursing home was great. Kayla and I got to meet with the nursing home director and the individuals responsible for planning activities in the nursing home.
We were able to follow Dr. Robbins around a lot this last week. Kayla was able to do a joint injection with the assistance of Dr. Robbins which was very interesting! It was exciting to watch and to see Kayla so excited to be so involved in the clinic. As the week passed, we got closer and closer to finishing our antimicrobial stewardship project. We still have quite a bit of work to do on it but we are getting closer to being able to present to the physicians regarding the topic. We also picked up project to help the nursing home to analyze a situation after a patient fall.
I was able to see a trauma come into the ER and got to follow the case which was amazing. Additionally, Kayla and I were able to see an abdomen ultrasound and learned so much about the ability of the radiology department and how they play a role in the health team.
The students and I went to the lake and went wake boarding then went to go see our preceptor play darts on her league. It was such a fun experience and I look forward to spending more time with all of them this week!
The learning continues as we move into week three! On Monday, Kayla and I got to participate in a very interesting case from a medical payment standpoint. We had a lot of meetings with individuals around the hospital and were able to question what they did and how they believed that being in a rural setting impacted their careers and everyday life.
One very good visit happened with the ER nurse as she let us scrub in and go into the OR. A surgery wasn’t happening at the time but it was very interesting to be able to learn the technique to scrub in and gear up for a surgery at the facility. We also got to see the lab and how all of the equipment worked and how samples were tested there.
We were able to chat with the clinical psychologist and the psychiatrist this week. Amazingly, some of the patients let us in on their appointments which opened up another realm of medicine to me that I hadn’t learned much about. I was so thankful to have that opportunity.
The biggest highlight for me was being able to go out to Pine Ridge Reservation to be able to see the medical facility there. We were able to go into the ER and see how the new Avera ECare worked. I got to meet a pharmacist there who used to be a physician and I was able to visit and take a tour from a midwife at the facility. This experience has made me consider going to med school after pharmacy school in order to become an OB/GYN. The people there were truly inspiring and although I had the experience as a pharmacy student, I know that wherever I go, I will take these experiences with me.
The last week of REHPS was bittersweet. A new pharmacy student named Tegan started a rotation on Monday. Kayla and I continued to follow Dr. Robbins and Dr. Sides along with many of the other practitioners during our final week.
One of my favorite experiences from the week was being able to help with an ultrasound under the ultrasound technician’s guidance. I learned so much from him about the science and technology behind his job. It was so neat to be able to see.
Another great part of the last week was being able to go to the VA in Hot Springs. Our tour guide let us see the entirety of the hospital and shared so much history about the facility. She told us about her education and some of the differences between working federally and privately. It made me consider where I wanted to end up and the services that I would eventually like to provide as a medical professional.
Kayla and I presented our project over antimicrobial stewardship which had a great turn out!
Some of the pharmacy staff (as well as Kayla and I) went to Wolly’s Restaurant on my birthday which was great! I will greatly miss all the people that I encountered in my experience and hope to come back for a rotation in the future! I am so grateful for REHPS, it has been quite the adventure!