Week 1 at Winner
This past week I started by following a Physician’s Assistant, Chris Snavely, who was working in the Winner clinic. The day involved seeing patients of all ages for various reasons from strep throat to a large abscess. The next day while I was following the hospital surgeon Dr. Wagner. The day started quickly with two cesarean sections before 10 am. The patient who had the abscess was admitted to the hospital and brought through surgery as well. It was interesting to see the precision and poised demeanor of the surgeon for various surgical operations. On Wednesday I was able to follow Dr. Berg to visit the clinics in both White River and Mission. Dr. Berg has been practicing for over 30 years. Observing his involvement in the community was beneficial for me to see how to build a rapport with patients. I was able to work alongside a pulmonologist from Sioux Falls on Thursday. He provided a lot of good insight about his specialty and we had a great time talking about small towns in South Dakota. During the weekend we tested three different restaurants in the community as well as playing basketball and golf with a home town female medical student. The next two weeks are looking promising for both excitement in the community and at the hospital as well.

Weeks 2 & 3

My second week started out great on outreach with Dr. Henderson and one of the third year medical students, Jed. We saw several OB patients in the outreach clinics and were able to get hands on experience evaluating the patients. I worked in the clinic in Winner three days this past week. I worked alongside Dr. Henderson, Erin Tobin, and Becky Olson. All of the providers were so upbeat and willing to help me learn what it is like to diagnose patients in the clinic setting. One of the most exciting days of my experience thus far was following the ophthalmologist, Dr. Hafner, who was on outreach to Winner. Brady and I each took turns following patients from the admission process up until their recovery process. Throughout this process Brady and I were each given the opportunity to start an IV. This was something that I have never practiced before, but the nurses were so helpful in directing us to a successful experience. We also got to watch through a dual eyepiece as Dr. Hafner performed cataract surgeries!

While I was here in Winner I was invited to attend the wedding of a local couple. This was a great time to see everyone in the community as they came together for a special event. I even got a little grief at work during my third week about how I was a “wedding crasher”.  Another one of my favorite days while working in Winner was working with Dr. Moench who is a cardiologist through Avera. Every professional has an interesting story about how they got to where they are today and gave great little tidbits of advice, and Dr. Moench was no exception. During my third week I also got my first experience watching a cesarean section child birth with Dr. Wagner. I also got to follow a nurse into surrounding communities with Home Health. Amber worked to assure that patients in the community had accessible health care while still living at home. Throughout my entire experience in Winner I could not have imagined a better place to be. I met many new friends and made unforgettable memories. I will likely not get to do many of the things I experienced again, and for that I am extremely grateful to the REHPS program. This program has opened my eyes to the capabilities of rural healthcare and amplified my positive outlook for a profession in a rural setting.