Ali Haines
First Week at Winner
Greetings from Winner! What a great start to the REHPS program this week has been! The staff at Winner Regional Healthcare Center have treated Haylee and I so well. In just this past week I have had the opportunity to learn from two specialists from Sioux Falls, head to the outreach clinic in Mission, tag along on some emergency room cases, and even watch a baby be delivered! Definitely the best thing so far has been how receptive the providers and staff are to answering my questions and making sure I am understanding the topics that are covered with each patient. Some of the things covered this week have been COPD, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and the differences in needle types/sizes when administering sutures. It has also been great having other students in the facility; The FARM students from the Sanford School of Medicine have been great with giving me advice on the next couple of years, and there’s even a student doing her rural residency here that I can ask questions to.

Outside of work, Haylee and I tested out the local Chinese restaurant (yummy!), and checked out the gym. It even worked out for us to watch my sister compete at a track meet here in town. We even stumbled upon a high school baseball game while out on a walk! Hopefully this week we can go see a movie at the theater just down the block and see what more Winner has to offer!

Week Two
It has been another eventful and exciting week in Winner! This week was a little less stressful for me since I now know my way around the facility a little better and am familiar with the staff. The staff has been really great at including Haylee and me in the tasks going on around the hospital and clinic and even in the community!

This week I put on some miles with Dr. Henderson in the outreach clinics. We went to both White River and Mission and I got to see how the patients and midlevels in those areas rely on the doctors in Winner to keep their facilities running. We got to talk a lot about the Native American population in Winner and the surrounding area and also about how she manages her work-life balance, trying to be a compassionate and dedicated physician and also a mother to three children. This week I have especially seen how challenging rural medicine is not only for the doctors and midlevels but also the nurses, EMT’s and support staff. Since the Rosebud IHS emergency room closing, Winner has been receiving a portion of their cases. Our hospital was completely full for the majority of this week and nurses had to tell the emergency responders to send all non-urgent cases to other facilities since Winner had no room. This week was really exciting because I got to see my first surgery! Dr. Hafner, an ophthalmologist, came in and did some cataract surgeries. His surgical tech was really great about explaining the procedure as it was happening and letting me watch through the scope. I also got to spend a day with a cardiologist and learned about stress tests, bypass procedures and

Haylee and I got to spend some time getting to know the town of Winner this past week. We went to a movie at the city theater on free popcorn night, went to a track meet at the high school, and this weekend we went to a spring bazaar at one of the local churches! The bazaar had live music, food, and gave us a great opportunity get to know some of the community members. Overall, it was a great week in Winner and I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks will bring!

Week Four
It is so hard to believe that my four weeks in Winner have already come to an end! The time really did fly by, but I am sure that is because the facility and staff in Winner were so easy to get attached to. This week was extra short because of Memorial Day. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday working with Dr. Taylor and Dr. Berg in the clinic and rounding on hospital patients, and then Thursday was the last day for Haylee and me! What I really enjoyed this week was making the most of our last days in the community. Haylee and I are both movie lovers so we got to go to the drive-in movie theater on its opening weekend. We even went to bargain night at the regular movie theater and said our goodbyes to the gym and our running paths.

A really great aspect of REHPS is the wrap-up luncheon that Cheri organizes. It gives us students a chance to say goodbye to the staff that have mentored us over the last four weeks and let them know how much we appreciate their patience and willingness to teach us the ropes of working in a healthcare facility. I thought I was pretty well acquainted with rural medicine, but this experience has opened my eyes to what really goes on behind the scenes. Facilities like Winner make do with what they have; they may be short staffed, stressed, and filled to maximum capacity, but they still manage to provide superior care to the patients that count on them. That is the main lesson I will take away from this invaluable experience, one that I cannot thank AHEC, Winner, and all of our mentors enough for.