REHPS 2020 Kirstyn Polasky

My time in Martin, SD has been amazing. I got to see and assist with procedures that, as a typical pharmacy student, I would never get to experience. When I arrived in Bennett County, I was unsure of how my talents would be of benefit to the facility and how much I would learn there. Upon my first day, I quickly realized how hands-on my experience would be.

Desiree, a pharmacist for Bennett County, set me up with each health domain in order for the most comprehensive experience as possible. I observed a wheelchair fitting with physical therapy, went on home visits with Home Health and met people within the community. I learned not only about medicine but the way of life for the people in rural South Dakota. They each welcomed me into their family for the short period of time I was with them. I also went on rounds in the hospital to assist in patient care plans with a representative from each field. Behavioral Health is a new department for Bennett County, which I found very interesting. During this section, I spent my time with Katie who is a MPA, MSN, PMHNP-BC. I observed not only how she conducts evaluations within the clinic but also how she interacts and builds rapport with nursing home patients.  I was able to see wound care, clinic visits, ER visits, nursing home patients, lab, and ultrasound as well as everyday business in the pharmacy. I learned how important transportation is for this area, such as access to ambulance and flight crews. Each person I worked with was excited to teach us students and help us grow.

 I had no prior experience in hospital pharmacy until my time in Martin. I was challenged with material I have yet to learn and reviewed topics that I have already been taught. This community was very welcoming, especially during a pandemic. Being in rural South Dakota, I witnessed how each professional’s domain was stretched and how each employee was able to help in any way possible. An example of this was when there was a code. The PA, nurses, pharmacist, radiologist, and lab all quickly collaborated and helped the patient and each other to the best of their ability within their scope of practice. They also had access to E-Emergency Telehealth through Avera in the ER, where they are able to call to ask for help with charting or medical advice. This was a nice way to utilize available resources to the best of their ability. The hospital has a nice relationship with surrounding communities such as the reservations and Monument Health in Rapid City, SD.

My experience with the REHPS Program and my time in Martin, SD is an opportunity that I would be glad to repeat. I learned an invaluable amount about pharmacy and all professions. The hospital welcomed us in and were excited to teach us everything they could in our time there. They encouraged us to reach out and get experience in areas we were interested in. Through this opportunity, my confidence and knowledge has grown and I am forever grateful.