Victor Strasburg on his time in Miller
Well, week one is in the books here in Miller, SD and it’s been great. Brandon and I’s experience here began with a very warm welcome followed by a great tour around town. The tour was great because I’ve already needed to visit several of the local businesses to pick up things I forgot to bring with me. I hope to visit a few more of them during the coming weeks, especially the outdoor theatre.
After our tour of town, I began shadowing in the clinic and it’s been great. The providers I have shadowed have been great about explaining things I’m not familiar with and answering my questions (I have a lot of questions…lol). When not shadowing in the clinic I’ve also had the opportunity to spend some time in Radiology, Respiratory Therapy, and a little time seeing patients in the hospital. I think this experience is helping me to cement in my memory some of the things we’ve studied by giving me an actual experience to remember rather than a lecture slide. Can’t wait for week two.
Another week done here in Miller, SD and it has been another good one. I spent most my time shadowing providers in the clinic. It is inspiring to see the close relationships that people in this community have with their physicians. Spending most of my time in the clinic is getting me some much-needed repetition of things commonly seen in the clinic as well as a few rarer things that pop up. I’m constantly Googling things on my phone and looking things up at the end of the day.
I spent a little time following nurses, physical therapy, and the pharmacy downtown. With physical therapy, I saw an Epley Maneuver that I thought was neat to see. The pharmacy experience was humbling for me. It made me aware of how inadequate my current knowledge of pharmacology is. There was also a surprise medical experience at the pharmacy when a person had a seizure in front of the store. Several people immediately came to the aide of the person who was eventually fine and given a ride home. Shadowing in these different areas is always good because it helps to see how a healthcare team works together to serve the public. The atmosphere in Miller is nice because there is a sense of community in all of these places.
On Thursday Brandon and I had the opportunity to watch several cataract surgeries. These were extremely interesting to me. I was surprised by how fast they went (like 10-15 min) and by how easy it appeared to be for the surgeon even as he operated while looking through a microscope. He obviously had tons of experience and has performed this operation many, many times. It was a great opportunity to review the anatomy of the eye.
Outside of medical experiences, in my second week I had the opportunity to eat at The Main Street Lunchbox for lunch, Brandon and I had supper at Turtle Creek Saloon, and I’ve visited the Dairy Queen as well. All the food was great. To burn off some of those calories I’ve gone running around town a few times. I don’t think I’ve received that many waves from people in as short amount of time since I moved away from rural SD more than a decade ago. Can’t wait for week three.
Week three turned out to be as good or even better than my first two weeks here in Miller. I spent a lot of time in the clinic during week three but also spent some time at Rexall Drug. The clinic remains a valuable source of experience for me. I’ve seen the removal of suspicious looking skin lesions and then seen the pathology results of those cancerous lesions. I’ve also seen the removal of benign skin tags that are bothersome to patients. In the ER, I had the opportunity to speak to a patient with Addison’s disease and I’ve also sat in on an E-consult a patient with a genetic clotting disorder had with a hematologist. So, there have been a few rather unique experiences sprinkled in with the more routine ones. Under the very close supervision of Dr. Hopkins I was able to do a single stitch for a patient who had been in a car accident. The clinic and hospital experiences have been great.
My experiences at the pharmacy have also been very good. The pharmacists have been great about explaining what they do and the things they watch out for. They have also been really good about answering my many questions. I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit about the different organizations that must interact for a prescription to be filled and covered by insurance.
At the end of the week Brandon and I spent a day at the pharmacy taking blood pressures and checking blood glucose for anyone who came in. We ended the day having taken approximately 40 blood pressures and checked 30 people’s blood glucose. During the course of the day, we identified a few people with rather high blood pressures and suggested that they have it checked out at the clinic. Now, when I’m typing this I know that a few of them did go to the clinic so it seems our project was at least a partial success.
The highlight of my recreational activities during week 3 was going to the Midway Drive-in for Guardians of the Galaxy. I hadn’t been to a drive-in movie theatre in a very long time so it was a fun experience for me. The movie was great. I wish I could do it more often.
My time in Miller has come to an end. The highlight of my final week was watching colonoscopies and EGDs performed in the hospital. I also had the chance to go on rounds to the local nursing homes with a provider from the clinic. It was a valuable experience to see some of the thought behind the care of some of the most elderly in the community. At the beginning of the week I spent some more time shadowing in the clinic. Nothing new and exciting happened that I can remember now, but shadowing in the clinic continues to be very valuable. I feel like gaining experience and repetition of certain things is the best thing for me right now. On my final day in Miller I saw a head CT performed in radiology and shadowed an orthopedic surgeon that was seeing patients in Miller that day. This whole experience has been amazing. I expect that all the things I’ve seen in Miller will make it easier for me to remember the things I learn in class during the coming semester.
At this point, I would like to say a few thank-yous. Thank you to Cheri Buffington and the REHPS program for making this experience possible. Thank you to Marissa Trosen for coordinating everything in Miller for Brandon and I so that we got a variety of healthcare experiences. Thank you to Travis Anderberg for helping make our community project a success. Thank you to all the physicians, nurses, and other healthcare personnel that explained things to me and answered my questions. Thank you to the residents of the assisted living attached to the hospital for occasionally letting me eat with them during my stay. And finally, thank you to the people of Miller for being warm and welcoming wherever I went during my time in their community.