The hospital is located on the northeast side of town and is connected to the long term care unit with the clinic just a few steps away. My first day of experience began early in the morning. After hours of driving, finally pulling into Winner was exhilarating. I entered the hospital where I met my partner, TiAnna, a medical student at USD, and Krystal, our facility’s REHPS coordinator. Krystal brought us both to her office and excitedly discussed our schedules for the next four weeks. The staff has welcomed the two of us with open arms and has made sure we both are where we need to be to get the most out of our experience here in Winner.
During the first week, I was able to spend time with a family medical doctor, a pharmacist, workers on an MRI truck and the hospital lab, and sat in on TeleMed appointments with a nephrologist from Sioux Falls. The family medical doctor tended to appointments that filled her morning hours and met with nursing home residents during the afternoon hours. While spending time with patients in the clinic that morning, she also performed an induction in the hospital. Since I was involved with the induction of the patient, I was given the truly amazing experience of viewing the C-section that took place that next morning. The many things that the physicians are capable of in this community astound me.
Along with the physicians’ hard work, I was able to observe the performances of the pharmacists in the hospital pharmacy. We went through patient charts, medication carts, medication kits, and prepared a sterile compound. It was humbling to me to see the confidence in the pharmacist’s knowledge in verification and dosing of medications.
The rest of the week consisted of reading and learning the process of MRI scans, the steps of developing lab results, and sitting in on TeleMed appointments with a nephrologist. I was able to review the patients’ medications while the nurse checked vitals before the “skype” session began.
My second week was full of observing the process of checking pacemakers, sitting in on echoes, checking in on outpatient infusions, exploring a few cases in the ER, viewing my second C-section, audiology, cardiac rehab, urology, heading out to the outreach clinic in Mission, and spending more time in the pharmacy. I am aware that this list is very long, but I could not shorten it as one experience did not seem more important than another
The outpatient infusion process was very intriguing to me as a future pharmacist. I was able to listen to each patient’s personal story from his or her own perspective and to ask how the medications were benefiting the patient. Spending time with the audiologist taught me how important it is to be sure patients are receiving personalized hearing aids to better improve their quality of life.
I spent Wednesday with a urologist who allowed me to sit in on a prostate biopsy along with a transurethral resection of the prostate and a kidney stone removal, which was an incredible experience. The afternoon hours were consumed with more information and spending time with patients at their appointments.
The amount of specialty physicians that travel to the Winner Regional Healthcare Center amazes me. It has truly been a unique opportunity for me to follow all of the different providers here and learn more about their specialties- an opportunity that I would not have had without REHPS. I am so thankful for this remarkable experience and am so excited to continue my experiences for the next two weeks!
The town of Winner is known for ranching and small-town living and I was able to be a part of this community for the last four weeks. Although I wasn’t given the opportunity to check out the ranching side of the community, I was welcomed into the health side of things, along with experiencing the local restaurants, drive-in movie theater, and the surrounding small towns.
My third week in Winner started on Tuesday due to Memorial Day. Tuesday morning was full of appointments in the clinic with a physician assistant, where I saw a variety of things from rashes to appendicitis. Since I was in with the patient who was experiencing appendicitis symptoms, I was asked to sit in on the laparoscopic appendectomy that afternoon! It was incredible to view this surgery. The next day I was given another unbelievable opportunity – viewing a total knee replacement. The afternoon was spent with two nurses who showed me the process of CT scans and X-rays. The technology in the medical field is remarkable. My partner, TiAnna, and I headed to her hometown, Bonesteel, that evening to participate in the town walk and to watch the sunset on the river.
All day Thursday was spent preparing for the Winner Health Fair on Friday and eating at steak night at the auxiliary in Colome, SD. TiAnna and I put together a board and brochures for display along with free blood sugar screenings for the public. We really enjoyed meeting those of the community that came to visit our table to learn more about diabetes.
The next week was spent with a physician at the outreach clinics in Mission and White Creek, in the clinic in Winner with another physician, visiting with a patient receiving outpatient infusions, and viewing a movie at the Winner Drive-In Theatre. Many of the outreach appointments consisted of OB patients and well baby checkups. The physician at the Winner clinic allowed me to sit in on patient appointments while also teaching me more about EKGs. TiAnna and I spent Monday night at the Winner Drive-In Theatre where they were playing the movie Rampage.
Unfortunately, I ended my experience in Winner at the Winner Regional Healthcare E.R. on Tuesday night. I received extraordinary care from all of the doctors and nurses that I had been spending my last four weeks with. I am so thankful for their level of care and knowledge in this rural community.
After spending the last four weeks in Winner, I have confirmed that I would like to pursue my career in rural healthcare. The healthcare team that I worked with was full of wonderful people glimmering with positive energy. The REHPS program has shown me the amazing side of rural healthcare and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.