First Week at Redfield
Hello from Redfield! It has been a busy first week for April and I at the Community Memorial Hospital and Clinic, and we have already seen and experienced so much! After arriving on Monday afternoon and receiving a quick tour of the facility, we began our REHPS experience on Tuesday with further tours of the hospital and clinic and of a nearby nursing home. In the afternoon, I was in the clinic with Dr. Owens, a physician who has long been involved with the REHPS program. This has been great because Dr. Owens is always willing to answer any questions that I have (and I have a lot!), and teach me new things, both medically and non-medically related. I have also shadowed two PAs and a nurse practitioner, as well as spent some time in the hospital lab and with a nurse. On Friday, April and I got to tour the South Dakota Developmental Center. We will be spending the day there with a couple of providers next week, so stay tuned for the coming blog post. We also had the opportunity to make a house call to the local Hutterite Colony. They were just finishing the process of making soap and told us that it would need to dry for three years before they would use it. We also were able to see their massive kitchen and taste for ourselves some of their homemade goods! It was an incredible experience, and we had a great time.
April and I have been busy outside the hospital as well. We are enjoying the warm weather and have taken several walks around town to check out the Historic Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Depot Museum and a nearby lake. On Saturday, we participated in the citywide rummage sale. I found a nice USD shirt in my size for only 50 cents so you can’t beat that! Later that day we attended a Relay for Life bean bag tournament at a local bar and then ate at Roosters, a restaurant in town. So far, my experience in Redfield has been great, mainly due to the extraordinary hospitality that April and I have received not only from the staff at Community Memorial Hospital, but also from the Redfield community as a whole. I can’t wait to see what our second week in Redfield has in store for us!
It was another exciting week in Redfield! On Monday, April and I traveled to nearby Doland with Dr. Owens for outreach at the town clinic. Although it was a very small clinic, many of the locals rely on it to meet their health care needs. After returning to Redfield, we were able to sit in on an Avera eCare conference. The Redfield hospital utilizes some of these services, including eEmergency, to assist providers if they need it. Through this telemedicine service, health care professionals working from Sioux Falls can order labs and CT scans as well as line up transport for a patient, among many other services. It can even be used to translate over 400 languages! On Tuesday and Wednesday, we were placed with home health where we provided foot care and also made home visits. I had never worked with home health before, and it was definitely a great learning experience. Thursday, we spent some time with Aly, our preceptor and pharmacist who created her position in Redfield. Aly has many different jobs in the hospital and clinic, and Thursday, she was helping patients manage their Coumadin in the anticoagulation clinic. It is interesting to see all that Aly does and how beneficial a pharmacist can be in a small community. Friday, we headed out to the South Dakota State School where we were able to sit in on some care conferences with a psychiatrist, pharmacist, case manager, and patient. Through this experience, I learned about caring for individuals with developmental disabilities and how each member of the health care team plays a role in providing optimum patient care.
Later in the week, April and I had the opportunity to go fishing with Dr. Owens. He took us out to a secret spot and attempted to teach us how to put a worm on a hook and cast a line. At first the fish weren’t biting and April and I figured we just weren’t good at fishing, but eventually, we started getting a few bites. I ended up catching a 5 pound carp and April did have a big one, but unfortunately the line broke (I promise this is not just a fish story!).
April and I have been in Redfield for three weeks now, and we continue to see and experience new things every day! On Monday, we were called into the emergency room. A patient was in critical condition and we watched as the doctors tried to stabilize the patient so they could transport to a larger facility. They pushed the eEmergency button and providers working at the hub in Sioux Falls were able to help monitor the patient as well as offer advice to the local doctors. We watched as the patient was transported into the helicopter and were able to quickly glance inside before the patient was transferred.
Later in the week, we were again called into the emergency room for a patient experiencing a heart attack. The providers worked to stabilize the patient and once this was accomplished, April and I rode in the ambulance to Aberdeen. Driving at 90 mph with a patient in critical condition was definitely an adrenaline rush and made me excited for the future when I will have the knowledge and skill to help patients like this. On Thursday we worked with North Central Heart and a cardiologist who does outreach in several small communities throughout South Dakota. Having specialists who bring their expertise to small communities such as Redfield is vital. It would be difficult for many of the patients we saw to travel long distances to larger facilities, possibly preventing them from receiving specialized care.
Outside of the hospital and clinic, April and I have immersed ourselves in the community. We visited with an elderly man who had survived polio and helped with the Spink County Relay for Life. We tried out a few of Redfield’s restaurants and even checked out a few bars. I think April and I both agree that there is plenty of fun to be had in small communities if you are willing to find it!
It is hard to believe that my four weeks in Redfield have come to an end. Time truly does fly when you are having fun! This week was shorter due to some construction that is set to take place on our hospital rooms, but we still were able to see and do a lot. On Monday, April and I returned to the State School to help with a medicine pass. We shadowed a nurse and med aid as they distributed meds to the residents, and then we were able to drive around and see more of the campus. Tuesday we were with Dr. Owens. He allowed April and I to go into the patient rooms and chat with the patient while he was dictating. It was exciting to feel like the doctor as I asked the patient about their chief complaint and medical history. It was also a reminder of all I have yet to learn on my path to becoming a physician. I struggled to answer even basic questions and conduct a physical exam. Wednesday we had our final presentation and then set off for home.
Overall, I had an amazing time in Redfield. I learned a lot of information from various health care professionals which will be useful to me in the future. I learned about the medical management of elderly patients and POLST forms, antibiotic stewardship, what to look for on an EKG and x-ray, the basics of a physical exam including listening to the heart and lungs and looking in the ears, and some medical terminology such as STEMI, INR, and CHD. I even learned about medications and drug interactions from my pharmacist partner April. I want to thank staff and providers at CMH who went above and beyond to make us feel welcome, taking time out of their busy days to show us what they do and answer our questions. Everyone in the community was so hospitable and friendly and truly made Redfield feel like home. I cannot thank enough everyone who made this experience possible, especially Cheri Buffington, Aly Howard, and all the health professionals we shadowed. As a result of this REHPS experience, I will definitely consider practicing in a rural area someday!