Week 1 at Wagner
I arrived in Wagner and was able to meet my Med Student Colleague Stephen Bollinger right away. He had already been shadowing in Wagner for a week by the time I met him. Since he was already familiar with the Hospital, he was able to give me a tour. The next day was my first official day and I was very excited to begin my time here in Wagner. Monday morning I met Christine Odens, who is not only a Community Pharmacist but also works part time at the hospital. She showed me around the pharmacy area in the hospital explaining the basics of each station while we walked. After that, she began doing her daily tasks. These included: inventorying the medications, checking for proper E.R. Medication use, filling the Omni cell medication dispenser, and ordering any medications that may be low in stock. Since it was my first day, I decided to observe this process so I would be able to perform the tasks as proficient as possible the next day. That night, I was given the opportunity to be on call in the E.R. This means that if any patients arrive in the E.R. during the night, a nurse can call me to come and observe. I was very excited to have received this opportunity, however the E.R. did not receive any patients that night. On Tuesday, I shadowed the Hospital doctors in the morning as they performed their duties in the clinic. At noon, I went to the Community Pharmacy, James Drug, in Wagner. I was surprised to hear that this is the only one in the whole town of Wagner. I was given a tour of the facility. During this time, I was shown their protocols for filling and dispensing of drugs and was also taught how to use their computer system. That night, I was on call again in the E.R. and was able to observe a few minor injury/care patients. I found the experience to be very valuable. Wednesday morning, I went to the medical lab and shadowed their technicians. I observed how they perform various lab tests including blood counts, urinary analysis, cell culture growth, and many more. Around noon, I was able to attend Rotary club, which is a community organization that discusses plans and ideas for improvement of the community. I was there until the early afternoon where I then went back to James Drug. I was able to help fill, bag, and dispense medications for the patients for a few hours. I really enjoyed seeing the relationships between the pharmacists and their patients. It can be very hard to create these bonds when in a busy pharmacy but they were able to do so seamlessly. That night, I was on call for the E.R. again, but that turned out to be another quiet night with few patients. On Thursday and Friday I toured and shadowed the physical therapy department, which is located in the hospital. I was surprised to see how busy they were, there was always two to three patients in the room at all times. Both days, after shadowing, I went back to James Drug and helped out wherever possible. Friday night, I attended the Carnival Walk of Ages in Wagner. This event is a fundraiser for the Good Samaritan Nursing home in Wagner. I helped monitor one of the activities that was available for children attending the event. Saturday and Sunday, I was on call in the E.R.. I realized that the E.R. tends to be much busier on the weekends with a wide variety of injuries and services needed.
On Monday and Tuesday I began by shadowing Christina in the hospital pharmacy. We worked together to complete her daily tasks. When finished, we headed back to James Drug. While there I continued to help fill, bag, and dispense medications to the patients. Both nights, I was on call in the E.R. again and was able to observe a few head trauma cases. On Wednesday, I was able to observe and learn about trigger point injections for fibromyalgia patients in the clinic. After that, I attended the Wagner Area Health and Wellness Consortium. During this meeting they were preparing for their annual 5K fundraiser run. On Thursday, I visited a Hutterite colony. I have never been to one before; therefore it was very interesting for me to see. We were there for a tour through the REHPS program. All of the members are incredibly hard workers and tend to be very organized. My favorite part was trying their food that was all made from scratch. I loved learning about their culture first hand. Friday morning I went to James Drug to shadow and help for a few hours. After that, I went home for the weekend to attend a family event. Sunday night, I arrived back in Wagner. Once back, I was put back on call for the E.R.
On Monday morning I went to shadow nurses at the Wagner Good Samaritan Nursing Home. I was impressed to see every resident in great sprits, and experience the wonderful atmosphere in the nursing home. I followed the medication aids and observed how the patients medications were distributed. For the remainder of my time I followed the nurses and observed their everyday tasks. After the nursing home my partner, Stephen, and I presented our power point on our experiences in the wonderful town of Wagner. The remainder of the day I was on call in the ER following Dr. Greg Bushell. On Tuesday I spent most of the morning at James Drug learning more about how their independent pharmacy operates. During the evening Stephen and I visited a beautiful church in the town of Marty, SD. Stephen and I also visited the casino here and paddle boarded through Wagner Lake. I strongly recommend if anyone is near Marty, SD that they visit the St. Paul Parish church. Wednesday and Thursday I worked at James Drug for the day and wished Stephen good luck as he left Wagner to go cheer on his girlfriend at the Miss South Dakota Beauty Pageant. On Friday I spent most of my morning at James Drug, but that evening I attended the Wagner Avera Hospital picnic at Wagner Lake. I was able to eat marinated steak and great burgers while having great conversation; especially with the cook who happened to be the CEO of the hospital, Bryan Slaba. Saturday and Sunday I was on call at the hospital. There were a few patients that came in but overall it was quiet.
This was my last week in Wagner and I tried to make the most of it. I spent every morning downtown in the town’s retail pharmacy learning how the independent pharmacy operates on a daily basis. I observed how the pharmacist prepared the nursing homes bubble pack orders, their medication mailing protocol, and their billing systems. The nights I would opt to be put on call so I could observe the patients admitted to the E.R. It was a great experience to observe the entire spectrum of care given to these emergency room patients. Since the doctors knew this was my last week, they constantly quizzed me on what medications I would recommend and why. My experience in Wagner was educational, fun, exciting, and full of new experiences. Overall, I have come to love the small town of Wagner and plan to practice pharmacy in a small town similar to this one. This last week was a lot of heart filled goodbyes. I have learned so much during my stay in Wagner SD. Thank you to everyone that made this experience possible. I’m so thankful for everything that I have learned and everyone I have met.