Alex Ogren
Week 1 at Hot Springs

In my first week at Fall River hospital in Hot Springs, I was able to experience many different aspects of hospital pharmacy. The staff at Fall River hospital is a tight knit group that works closely together to achieve superior patient care. Each department meets together at least daily to discuss each and every patient in the hospital. This teamwork provides for excellent patient care, and ensures no patient or problem slips through the cracks. In my first week I entered medication orders, check entered medication orders, watched how medications were filled, and then saw how medications were administered to the patient. In the first week I was able to use my knowledge of drug kinetics to determine the optimal dose and frequency of an antibiotic. I also discovered a patient’s declining renal function; I calculated their creatinine clearance and then made an adjustment in dose and frequency of one of their medications. I am excited to be a part of the Fall River hospital team and am in anticipation of what the next three weeks of my RHEPS experience will bring me. 

Week 2
The second week of my Hot Springs REHPS experience was another week full of firsts. This week I was able to sit in on my first medication reconciliation meeting with Nancy and Shelly to discuss strategies to prevent medication errors from happening. During the meeting I was able to add a different perspective and give my ideas for prevention of medication errors.

I was also able to sit in on a managers meeting, a quality assurance meeting, and an all staff meeting. It was interesting to see how people from each department would interact and discuss solutions to problems within the hospital.

Outside of work I was able to play disc golf at both the Hot Springs and Custer disc golf course this week which I found both courses to be very challenging and beautiful. I was also able to meet with Suzanne, Yvonne, and Kim for the legendary Wooly’s Friday after work get-together. I have been able to experience many new things in my first two weeks in Hot Springs, and I am sure there will be many more new experiences in the coming weeks.

Week 3
Saying my third week of my of REHPS experience was “eventful”  would be an understatement. At the hospital this week, I was able to do more vancomycin dose adjustment kinetics, and helped dose antibiotics based on kidney function. I started sterile injection preparation training, and passed the written portion of my training. I also assisted Suzanne with monthly chart reviews in the nursing home and got a feel for the role a consultant pharmacist plays. Suzanne and I also reviewed many fall cases that occurred in the previous month in the nursing home, we then did “Fall Risk Assessments” and formulated a plan of action based on the areas each patient was most at risk.

Outside of work, Hot Springs and the surrounding area has been getting slammed with rain, hail, and thunder. This abnormally wet year has impacted many aspects of the community, including cattle ranchers. Many cattle brandings have been pushed back due to the rising river waters and frequent rain storms. Luckily Bryant and I were able to experience our first branding at Dr. Side’s family’s ranch this past week. Bryant and I were both in charge of wrestling the calves as they were branded, ear tagged, and given shots.

Along with experiencing my first cattle branding I also entered my first PDGA sanctioned disc golf tournament in Custer. Thirty-five disc golfers from the area came together for the event. My bracket consisted of 10 disc golfers and after the first round I was leading by two strokes. Unfortunately my putting was not as good in the second round and I ended up getting second by two strokes. In the end I won back my entry fee but most importantly, I was able to connect with people in the area who share my same passion for disc golf. In just three weeks in Hot Springs, I have been able to learn an incredible amount in the hospital, but even outside of the hospital I have been able to experience so many things that I will never forget.

Week 4
The last four weeks of my REHPS experience at Hot Springs has flown by. In and out of the hospital I have been able to experience so many new things that there was never a dull moment. Not only has my REHPS experience given me a view of what hospital pharmacy is like, it has also shown me what working interprofessionally is like in the real world. Being teamed up with a physician assistant student for four weeks has shown me the importance that interprofessional teamwork can play in patient care. This week Bryant and I gave a presentation to Maris’ cardiac rehab patients. Bryant covered the disease state information and nonpharmacologic treatment and I covered the mechanism and effects of various medications. This presentation was a snapshot into how each person, from their respective field, can use their knowledge to create something better than what each of us could have done on our own. Along with working with Bryant, I also went on rounds with Jim Woehl and was able to listen to an aortic stenosis and learn how to read various lab values. Later that day, Jim invited Bryant and I trap shooting at the local gun club, and graciously allowed us to use his guns and shoot his bullets. Only in Rural America can you be reading lab values with someone one moment then shooting clay pigeons with them the next. Everybody here at Hot Springs has been very welcoming during my REHPS experience, and has made Hot Springs feel like home. This four weeks REHPS experience has been an invaluable look into both rural life and interprofessional teamwork that I will never forget.