Mariah Taylor

First Week at Hot Springs
Mandy and I arrived to Hot Springs on Sunday, July 10th, where we first met our hostess, Marce, for the next four weeks at her home. She lives a few miles outside of town, so it was a little difficult to find the first time with the numerous winding, narrow roads! Marce has been a terrific hostess from the get-go! She has provided us with a couple of home-cooked meals and is very sociable. I have found that I can always count on Marce’s dog, Harley, to greet me when I initially arrive at her home.

The first day at Fall River Health Services was a busy one! We were first given a tour of the facility, which includes a clinic, hospital, and nursing home all in one. The majority of our day was spent with Dr. Sides and her resident, visiting with patients throughout the clinic. I immediately saw a ton of new stuff from the clinical side that I have never been exposed to before! I was also amazed at how friendly and welcoming the entire River Fall Health Services’ staff was to us! Experiences such as the REHPS program are so much better when the staff members are helpful and sociable with the students. The second day was also spent with Dr. Sides and her resident.

The third day I was able to visit the pharmacy. I have only spent one day that was entirely devoted to pharmacy so far this past week, which is also a different feeling for me. I had been told numerous times that the pharmacy people there were the most fun group to be with, and I definitely think I can understand why after my day in there with them! I am unsure yet of what setting I would like to work in someday for pharmacy, as I only have retail experience. However, I think if I were to do any sort of hospital setting, I would want to work in a setting such as Fall River Health Services, where the setting is a little smaller. I think with more exposure to the pharmacy setting here, I will be able to develop a better idea of what kind of practice setting I hope to pursue and if that includes a rural hospital setting.

The fourth day, both Mandy and I visited the State Veterans Home. I was able to see more of the pharmacy side while on site and how their workflow is unique to their setting. Their staff members also gave me a tour of the facility, which is brand new! I was again amazed at how friendly everyone there was. Any questions that I had, they were willing to answer to the best of their ability. I may be visiting them again this next week, so stay tuned! The last day of the first week, both Mandy and I were in the clinic. I bounced back and forth between the nurse practitioner who was working and the LPN.

Overall, this first week has been beyond my expectations! I am beyond impressed by how welcoming everyone has been and willingness to teach. I am looking forward to what new adventures this next week will bring!

Week Two
Week two is already over! Mandy and I experienced quite a few different areas of rural healthcare this week. I again spent some time in the pharmacy and looked over different patient profiles while Mandy was in the clinic. We were able to spend more time together though when we visited the emergency room where we saw two different cases. Dr. Sides also set up a time where we were able to hang out with the ambulance crew for the day! One day while Mandy and I were walking around the facility, we noticed through the window that a few people were tending to the site’s helicopter, so we walked over to the helicopter and they showed us a ton of different features on it. The crew was super nice and didn’t mind at all to take some time to show us the helicopter. Dr. Sides also set up a meeting time for us to meet with the town’s Community Health facility where we were able to meet with a nurse and learn about the WIC problem and all that it entails. I am again really impressed with this facility and am excited to see what week three all entails!

Week Three
Much like week two, week three has flown by! I again spent time in various areas throughout Fall River Health Services. I’ve really started to grow a bigger appreciation for rural healthcare as I continue to witness the tight-knit relationships that the staff members have with one another. Outside of work, Mandy and I ventured up to Hill City and explored the town. We had supper at the Bumpin’ Buffalo and also visited Prairie Berry Winery. This past weekend, I also went on my first hike and conquered Harney Peak! I am amazed at how fast this experience has gone by and am looking forward to my last week here in Hot Springs.

Week Four
Our last week in Hot Springs was bitter sweet. I felt like I was busy for a majority of it working on projects to conclude our time there. I was able to write a short article about the meningococcal vaccine for their local newspaper, and Mandy and I were also able to develop a policy for RhoGAM administration for their facility. We then concluded by finishing up our presentations that we would give to the facility before we were done. Something that I thought was very exciting during our last week was watching a baby ultrasound. The sonographer even let us try to find different parts of the baby at the patient’s discretion. Overall, I really enjoyed this experience and felt that I made lifelong friends with the faculty at Fall River Health Services. I felt that I already had a positive outlook toward rural health, but this experience just solidified my perspective to potentially pursuing a career in rural healthcare if the opportunity arises! I may even consider going back this next year for a rotation!