Kristin Fiegen
First Week at Bowdle
Two hundred sixty three miles. That’s the distance from Bowdle to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That’s the distance many people drive for surgery, chemotherapy, or a second opinion. I’ve lived near Sioux Falls all of my life and never realized what a luxury it is – until now. The four-hour journey from Sioux Falls to Bowdle helped me appreciate the need to keep rural hospitals in operation and provide them with the resources necessary to deliver excellent health care.

It’s clear that the staff in Bowdle is committed to sustaining the facility, so they can continue to provide excellent health care services for years to come. Their commitment is made obvious by their work ethic, because no one person has a single job. Instead, each person willingly takes on multiple roles that are not necessarily “in their job description”. This week, I learned that rural healthcare survives on teamwork, and I look forward to learning more about the Bowdle Healthcare team in the coming weeks.

Week Two:
This week Liz and I were able to help with activity time and crafts in the nursing home. It sure takes a lot of work to coordinate 38 residents! While the nurses and nurse assistants work very hard to provide daily cares, they rely on volunteers to keep the residents entertained. We hope to help the volunteers with daily devotion sometime soon by playing the piano and guitar for the residents!

I also got to practice a lot of dictation this week. In other facilities, I have been typing notes, but here in Bowdle, I get the full experience. I have been blessed with a great deal of independence since I will be “on my own” in just a few short weeks. I am grateful for the trust that my preceptors have shown me, and their words of encouragement to keep learning daily.

Weeks Three and Four:
I came into these 4 weeks with little knowledge of how patient visits are coded and charge for. Because Bowdle is a small healthcare system, I got to learn about coding from the provider’s prospective, the coder’s responsibility, and how a bill looks when it gets sent to insurance. I never would have seen this process in a larger hospital or clinic.

This week, Liz and I had the chance to really unwind with some horseback riding. We have both ridden before, but it has been about 10 years since I have ridden a horse. The evening was so peaceful, and I’m glad that Riley was willing to take us out to the pasture! It’s kind of like riding a bike – one you learn, you never forget – and when I felt comfortable, all I wanted to do was run!

I think my experience at Bowdle is doing the same for my professional work. It’s getting me more comfortable with independence, so I’m ready to hit the ground running after graduation.

The last week flew by. No ER calls over the weekend, so I did a lot of studying for my board examination. Liz and I also practiced for our duet at the nursing home. We put on a “concert” during supper one evening for the nursing home residents. Liz played piano, and I played guitar. We had fun sharing our talents with the residents, and they certainly enjoyed the entertainment. Something new is always welcome!

Liz and I also enjoyed a new experience this week – a guided fishing tour on the Missouri River. We got to experience one of the local favorite pass-times, and we caught plenty for supper! Our hosts, Doug and Mary, have been so gracious to us, as well as all the staff here in Bowdle. They will all be greatly missed, and I’m grateful for the hospitality they showed us.