Marissa Meyer
Week 1 at Bowdle

My first week in Bowdle, SD was definitely an eye-opening experience. I was pleasantly surprised when I witnessed the patient list in the clinic on my first day.  The clinic saw many more patients in a day than I thought they would.   Throughout the week I had the opportunity to work with a variety of different patients and areas of medicine.  One patient in particular, who has dealt with a debilitating disorder all of her life, reminded me that attitude can make a huge amount of difference when dealing with a health disorder.  She chose to live her life with purpose and make the most of her health situation.  This patient was very inspiring!

This week I had the opportunity to work with Wayne Washenberger, PA-C, who has an extensive history working in orthopedics.  His background provided me with many opportunities to learn about an area I have little experience working with.  Along with working in the clinic, I also had the opportunity to see a few ER patients with him as well.

I have felt so spoiled staying in such a welcoming community.  Everyone that I have encountered throughout the week has been extremely nice and willing to assist with any questions I have had. They have made Mackenzie, Pharmacy student, and I feel right at home! I look forward to the next few weeks and am excited for what is still in store for us!

Week 2
The second week in Bowdle had much in store for Mackenzie and myself! The beginning of the week I was able to work in the clinic with Wayne, PA-C.  He is such a great teacher and is very willing to share his knowledge.  I was also able to follow a CNP, working in cardiology, who came from Aberdeen.  We were able to perform and interpret the ECGs that the patients needed done. 

On Thursday Mackenzie and I headed to Aberdeen with Mary Turner for our community project education.  Mary has been very hospitable since we have been here so it was very fun to make a girls trip out of the day.  After the morning educational session Mary took us out to lunch at a delicious Italian restaurant in Aberdeen.  Once we had eaten we went to Avera St. Lukes and the Sanford hospital for tours from facility employees.  It was great to actually get to see the facilities that patients from the Bowdle ER, who need additional care, are sent to.  Mary then gave us a tour of Aberdeen and we even made a pit-stop at Storybook Land!

On Friday we had the opportunity to work with some of the different areas in the hospital.  We spent the morning with the hospital nurses and spent the afternoon with Leslie in the radiology department.  We were able to watch a few CT scans and look through the images.  She even showed us a few CTs of interesting cases!  The excitement continued into the weekend when Mackenzie and I had our first ambulance ride.  It was quite the experience! I look forward to our third week in Bowdle!

Week 3
Time is sure flying here in Bowdle as my third week here is already complete.  The beginning of the week was definitely a day packed full of different experiences.  Mackenzie and I started our week out in Physical Therapy learning the different ways that PT helps patients.  It was very beneficial for me to understand what types of patients would benefit from physical therapy.  We learned about the “kitchen sink” exercises that patients are taught how to perform to prevent falls at home.  We met one woman who found that these exercises made a huge difference in her safety at home.  After physical therapy we met with Charlie, an ultrasound tech, and watched him perform an echocardiogram.  I had seen many echocardiograms on my cardiology rotation so it was fun to quiz myself while he performed the exam. 

Mackenzie and I attended the city council meeting this week as well.  It was interesting to see what issues a rural community encounters in their town.  Mackenzie and I also had the privilege of watching the set-up of a patient who was about to undergo a sleep study after the city council meeting.  The sleep study tech even explained what the different sensors monitored.  I had never seen a sleep study in the past so it was very eye-opening to see how intricate the set-up is before the study begins. 

This week Doug and Mary Turner took us out on a guided fishing trip on the Missouri River.  Pete was an amazing fishing guide! He baited our hooks, took the fish off the hooks when we caught them, and even cleaned our catches after we were back ashore.  We had a lot of fun fishing for the day and it was even a perk that we caught our limit in Walleyes! After we had finished fishing we met Lynette and Wayne Washenberger for supper in Mina, which was absolutely delicious! Overall, it was a very relaxing and fun day!

The rest of my week was filled with patients in the clinic with Wayne, which is always a great learning experience.  There were many interesting patients that allowed me to put my diagnostic knowledge to the test.  I took call with Wayne this weekend and had the opportunity to meet with patients in the ED.  Overall I have had a great third week in Bowdle and am eager to see what the final week with the REHPS program has in store!

Week 4
I cannot believe that my last week in Bowdle through the REHPS program is already complete! I have had the pleasure to meet the most genuine and caring individuals in my time here.  Everyone I encountered was so down-to-earth and welcoming. 

On Monday I had the opportunity to work with Wayne Washenberger, PA-C, in the clinic.  We encountered one very interesting and puzzling patient.  This gave me the opportunity to think through possible different diagnoses and work through causes for some impressive laboratory results.  Late in the afternoon Wayne demonstrated how to properly intubate a patient on a manikin that the hospital owned.  They even left the manikin and supplies set up for me to practice throughout the week! I also had the opportunity to suture a hand laceration with Amanda Pettijohn, PA-C, at the end of the day.  I am so appreciative of patients who agree to allow students to practice suturing.  This was very priceless practice!

On Tuesday Mackenzie and I went on a home health visit.  It was very heartwarming to see how home health nurses provide, not only medical care, but a social outlet for elderly individuals who may suffer from loneliness.  I also spent most of my day in the clinic seeing patients.  I was even able to perform a knee injection.  Wayne had worked in orthopedics prior to coming to Bowdle so it was really great to have instruction from someone who has a substantial background giving joint injections.

The rest of the week was filled with clinic patients and WIC! We were able to work with Mel, RN, and meet the patients in the WIC program.  It was very humbling and very fun to see many little babies.  Our week was topped off with a meal in Roscoe at a restaurant named Three Paws with Mary and Doug Turner.  We were able to sit in the kitchen and watch Dennis, the chef who was trained in New York, prepare a custom meal for us.  It was such a unique and fun experience that would not be expected in a small town!

Overall I have had such a great experience in Bowdle with the REHPS program.  Everyone was so hospitable and welcoming.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with better people!