Ashley Reierson
First Week at Sisseton
My first week in Sisseton went by in a flash and was very exciting. Tuesday was our orientation day so we got to meet with a lot of staff. All of the staff was very welcoming and gave us ideas of things to do around the town, we even got invited to go to a ranch and ride horse. Cheri came in the afternoon and we went out to lunch at the Cottage and then went to take pictures in a few different places. We climbed Nicollet Tower which was covered in caterpillars, but had a great view at the top. We also went out to Agency Village and got to see their gym, community college, and high school. There is some very interesting architecture including the eagle shaped high school and the drummers on top of another building.

Wednesday Becca and I had the opportunity to go with the social worker to an Alive meeting. Alive meetings are held monthly with different groups that are trying to help decrease suicide, along with drug and alcohol abuse. They are also working on opening a food pantry to help supply food to those in need. Wednesday we also got the opportunity to tour the Indian Health Services clinic. It was very interesting to learn how their health system differs from ours and all the different specialties they have in the clinic including dentist, optometry, dialysis, counseling, clinic, OB, and pharmacy to name a few.

The rest of the week I was in the pharmacy helping to fill the Pixis machines and other tasks. Saturday Becca and I drove to Pickerel Lake Lodge for dinner, about 25 miles from Sisseton. We had dinner and then stayed and listened to Karaoke. Sunday we went to Fort Sisseton for the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival. We ate lots of great food and watched a ranch rodeo. We also walked around and looked at many vendors. Sunday evening, we went into the ER. We got to see many different kinds of patients and issues. Dr. Gallagher did a great job asking us questions and explaining his thinking and rationale. It was also fun to get to know the nurses and talk with them in the down time. I can’t wait for next week to get to work with the staff and see the different areas of the clinic and hospital.

Week 2
Week two went by faster than the first week which I didn’t think was possible! I got to see many different areas of the hospital and work with many different people. I spent Monday in the pharmacy working on antimicrobial stewardship and filling the pixis machines. Tuesday I followed a nurse as she gave meds to her patients, I also got to go to physical therapy and watch a patient session and learn more about the patient. I also got to learn about a new therapy they are using on patients with chronic pain. The therapy was created by Lorimer Mosely, a clinical scientist and neuroscience professor, who is investigating pain in humans and the link between body and mind. It looks at how patients processes sensory information. He has done many TEDx talks which the assistant had me watch and it was very interesting. This new technique was very interesting to me because I work in retail and see so many people that have chronic pain. I also attended the antimicrobial stewardship meeting Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday night we went to a prenatal class at the hospital and learned about breast feeding.

Wednesday morning I spent time in the pharmacy and also went to the lab where I got to see them do tests for A1c and bacteria cultures. That afternoon I went with Dr. Meadows to the nursing home and followed as he rounded. I loved spending time with the residents and hearing their stories. Thursday morning I went to the SD SIMs truck and watched code simulations. There were many different disciplines that worked together to treat the patient. I was also able to work with them, but was not much help as I have not learned much about critical care or the meds and dosages used. It was very interesting to me to see how the doctors treated the patients. I spent the afternoon in the clinic with Angie and got to see many different kinds of patients and problems. It was interesting to see this part of the health care system as I have a retail pharmacy experience so I am always on the other side just filling the prescriptions but not knowing what they were being treated for. I was even able to answer some of the patient questions about medications.

Friday Becca and I taught a first aid and choking course to 14 girls at a babysitting clinic. It was fun to spend the day with these girls. The paramedics came in the afternoon and showed the girls some of the things they use on their calls including braces and doing blood pressures. Some of them also got to lay on the gurney. One of the girls even got a ride out to the ambulance, it was fun to see how excited they got.

Week 3
Monday Becca and I were both in the pharmacy and we worked on antimicrobial stewardship and filling the pixis machines as well as doing medication reconciliation and discharge counseling. Tuesday morning, we attended the med staff meeting. I spent the rest of the day with Dr. Gallagher in the clinic. I get to see many different patients and even got to see cortisol injections in two patients’ knees. It was interesting to me to see how doctors differ in their treatment and approach toward patients.

Tuesday night Becca and I went out to Sica Hollow State park and went for a walk on the trail. We were a little scared at first because the trees around the park were very thick. But once we got started it was a very beautiful hike with lots of little streams and bridges.

Wednesday I spent the morning with Randa, one of the home health nurses. We went to see a few different patients and I got see she her change dressings. I spent the afternoon in radiology which was slow but I got to see two chest x-rays and three CTs. One of the CTs showed a large pulmonary embolism so the doctor had to quickly give the patient blood thinners and transport to Fargo. In the down time between patients I looked through the student learning book which had interesting cases they had seen in the past. Some of the cases were very interesting and I got to see many fractures. Wednesday night we went to Eden to try their famous wings that everyone talked about. They had many different kinds and they were very good!

Thursday Becca and I went with Melissa, the case worker, to IHS for the first one-thousand days meeting. We learned that many groups in the community are getting together and working to decrease adverse childhood experiences. They also talked about the recent speakers that they had and the great feed back that they had got from the youth and young adults. It was also very eye opening to look at the surveys that had been filled out and what those kids had been through or how they feel. The rest of the day I spent in the pharmacy helping Brittany. Thursday night Becca and I went to wine and canvas out at the golf course with LaDonna, the business manager. We had a lot of fun and got to meet different members of the community.

Friday morning when we were walking to ER one of the nurses told us that they had an emergency C-section. I got to see my first surgery and baby be born and I didn’t even pass out! The rest of the morning was spent in the ER, it was slow but we spent time working on our HPV screening form and talking with the nurses. That evening we helped set up the for Relay for Life and sold tickets for the gift baskets that were donated.

Week 4
I can’t believe that this is our last week here. The time has gone by so fast and I have met so many nice people and have seen so many things! This week went by faster than the past three weeks! Monday and Tuesday I spent the day in the pharmacy. Monday night Dr. Peterson took us to Deano’s, the food was very good and it was very nice getting to know her. She is truly such a nice person. Wednesday I spent the morning with Dr. Kamlitz and got to watch a laparoscopic cholecystectomy and a colonoscopy. It was very interesting to get to see the laparoscopic procedure and all the tools they use to prevent having to open the person up. I spent the afternoon in the pharmacy and the ER. Becca and I got to take care of a patient all by ourselves until the doctor came!

Wednesday night we went to Shelia’s farm and got to go out on her boat and go fishing. We also got to ride horse and pet the calves. After an exciting evening they took us out to eat at Pickerel Lake Lodge. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to get to know Shelia and her family!

Thursday morning we were in the ER and got to do vitals on many of the patients and do some research on a patient that came in with pain in the chest when touched. That afternoon we got to see a baby be born! It was very exciting to get to see, but also a little scary to see how much pain she was in. It was amazing to see when she first got to see her baby and knowing that the pain was all worth it. Friday we did our final presentation for many of the staff. We talked about all things we got to do and see in the clinic and hospital. We also talked about and showed them pictures of the projects we had worked on and all the things we had done outside of the hospital with the staff. We also talked to them about HPV and the importance of the vaccine and showed them the screening form we had put together. The staff said it was something that they could use in the clinical to be able to get more people vaccinated. It was so great to be able to spend the month at the hospital and get to meet and work with so many amazing people. I am so thankful that I got the chance to be part of the REHPS program. This is definitely an experience that I will never forget!