Winner, South Dakota
Week 1

Coming into the REHPS program, I honestly had no clue what to expect. I only knew who I was paired with and where I was staying, nothing more. On the first day we took a tour of the hospital and clinic so we were able to find our way around the hospital. We also met some of the people we would be working with. After taking this tour and meeting some of the employees, I knew I was going to have a great time here in Winner.

After the tour, I was scheduled to be in the pharmacy. I had never worked in a hospital pharmacy so everything was very new and different for me. Recently, the hospital has changed over to a new computer system, making all records electronic. I was able to learn a little bit about the new system and see how it was able to make everyone’s job much easier. Even though it was a fairly slow day in the pharmacy, I felt I had learned a lot and can’t wait until the next time I am scheduled to be in the pharmacy.

On Wednesday, I was able to stand in on a couple routine surgeries with Dr. Tobin. I have never been able to watch a live surgery which made this an AMAZING experience!! All of the people in surgery were great to work with. Dr. Tobin and the rest of the staff were able to answer my many, many questions which made this experience even better.

On Thursday, Tia, the PA student, and I were given the day off to work on our project for the health fair. We decided to give a presentation on smoking cessation at the health fair and then go to the local swimming pool to talk to the kids about the importance of sunscreen. After we finished making our initial plans, I got a call from one of the surgery nurses asking if I wanted to come watch another surgery. I immediately put on my shoes and was at the hospital in 5 minutes! This surgery turned out to be much more interesting than the two from the day before. I was able to watch as a patient had 4-6 inches of his sigmoid colon removed, along with his appendix. Again, I can’t thank Dr. Wagner and the rest of the staff enough for making this such a great experience! Being able to watch these procedures makes me even more excited to become a healthcare professional!

On Friday, I followed the home health nurse, Candy. We saw three patients and I was able to experience something different with each one. At the first location, I watched as Candy hooked up a patient’s IV bag and then she had me make sure they had their meds for the next week. At the second location I helped her fill a patient’s pillbox. After doing this, I now realize the importance pillboxes play when it comes to making sure that a patient is taking the correct meds at the correct time. For the final visit of the day, we had to travel to the neighboring town of Dallas. This was my favorite visit of the day because I was able to answer some questions Candy and the patient had regarding the patient’s medications.

In the four days I have spent here, I have been able to see a variety of elements of rural health care. The staff has been great to work with and very easy to get along with. The city of Winner has yet to disappoint. Tia and I have ventured out a few times and have always found good food and even better people! I can’t wait to find out what the next few weeks have in store for us!

Week 2
It is hard to believe that the first two weeks have gone by so fast. I can only imagine that these last two weeks will go by even faster. On Monday I was in the clinic with Chris the PA. I started the morning off by following him on his rounds through the nursing home. I really enjoyed this because I was able to look at all the meds each patient was taking and then was able to use that info to help Chris diagnose some of the possible problems the patients were having. The rest of the day was spent seeing patients in the clinic. Even though this was a very different type of setting for me, I felt I was able to gain invaluable experience from spending the day there with Chris.

On Tuesday, I was in surgery again. It wasn’t quite as exciting as last week but I was able to see one really unique procedure. I watched as Dr. Tobin and Dr. Gordon removed a patient’s appendix by using laparoscopic technique. Being able to watch this entire procedure on a TV screen was an amazing thing to see!!

On Wednesday, I spent the day at the Pamida Pharmacy. Being that I have worked in a retail pharmacy before, I didn’t get to see many new things but I did have a lot of fun with all of the staff in the pharmacy. I was also able to see how different companies use different methods in running their pharmacies. Wednesday was my last day this week as I went to be with my family because my Grandpa was having open heart surgery. So I got to spend Thursday night and most of Friday in Omaha with my family.

Overall, this was another great week here and I can’t wait to start my third week here in Winner.

Week 3
Wow, what another great week I have had here at the Winner Regional Hospital!! I cannot say enough good things about the time I have spent here!

On Monday, Tia and I split time between a pediatric cardiologist and an OB doctor, who were flown in from Sioux Falls. I started the morning with the OB. I was able to watch a few ultrasounds and I was also able to discuss his preference for certain meds when dealing with pregnancies. I spent the rest of the afternoon with the cardiologist. I was able to learn many things about specializing in cardiology. Flying these two doctors to Winner, just for the day, showed me how committed the hospital is when it comes to providing quality health care for their patients.

Tuesday, I was able to spend the day with Linda, the out-patient chemo nurse. Aside from learning about some of the drugs available for chemotherapy, I had no idea what to expect. This turned out to be one of my favorite days this week. I was able to do everything from mixing the chemo drugs under the hood to administering IV PUSH drugs to the patients. Linda was such a knowledgeable nurse and being able to have her as my teacher for the day was awesome!!

On Wednesday, I had to get my butt out of bed kind of early as I was going to be following Katie around at the hospital pharmacy and she starts work at 6 am! As always, I enjoyed my time in the pharmacy and was able to gain a greater knowledge of what is expected of a hospital pharmacist.

Tia and I had the day off on Thursday because we were working on our other community project. For this project we went to the swimming pool to tell everyone about the benefits of sunscreen. I feel like the kids were very receptive to what we had to say (probably because we bribed them with popsicles HAHA!!)

On Friday, I was able to spend another day in the clinic but this time with different doctors. I started the morning with Dr. Carpenter. Later in the morning, there was a two vehicle car accident and three people were transported to the hospital. I went over to the ER with Katie to see what a pharmacist does in a situation such as this one. Luckily, no one was severely injured so there was little for the pharmacist to do but, all-in-all, it was a great experience! The rest of my afternoon was spent with Dr. Henderson and visiting with her patients.

Like the last two weeks, this week was amazing and it seems that the learning never ends. It is hard to believe that this next week will be my last one here. Even though this coming week will only be four days, I know it will be full of exciting activities and even better people!

Week 4
I can hardly believe that this was my last week in Winner. What a wonderful experience this has been. I wish I didn’t have to leave!!

On Monday, I followed Dr. Moench, the cardiologist. Beings that I am very interested in cardiology, this was one of my favorite experiences. I was able to learn so much from Dr. Moench. I was even able to help a few patients sort out some problems they were having with their medications.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I was with Katie in the pharmacy. Both of these days were pretty slow so lots of time was spent doing busy work in the pharmacy. On Tuesday afternoon, Tia and I gave our presentation for the community about our experience in Winner. It was nice to see so many people attend our presentation and how excited they were to have us in Winner. A few of them, jokingly, were offering us jobs!!

On Thursday, Tia and I were both with Dr. Hafner, an eye surgeon. He was in Winner to do cataract surgeries. Being able to watch that was very interesting! It was something I have never seen before. When I packed my car up on Thursday I realized that my time in Winner had ended. Again, I cannot say how happy I am to be able to have had such a wonderful experience.