Nathan Smith
First Week at Philip

When Joe and I arrived in Philip, we were warmly welcomed by Crystal Eisenbraun who is providing housing for us during the experience. The next morning, we reported to Philip Health and met with Jennifer (our site coordinator). After discussing the tentative schedule and expectations of our experience, Jennifer took us on a tour of the clinic, hospital, and nursing home facilities followed by a tour of the town. I was impressed with the quality facilities as well as the numerous businesses that Philip had to offer.

Our first week was spent primarily in the clinic, emergency department, pharmacy, and nursing home. On Tuesday we also had the opportunity to follow the optometrist. I found this very interesting and beneficial in understanding how ophthalmic medications produce their effects. On Wednesday and Thursday we were able to play a large role in a few emergency department cases. We followed the patients throughout the process of initial presentation, radiologic scans, hospital care, and discharge education. On Friday we were able to spend the day at the pharmacy. We helped the pharmacist with a few MTM cases and discussed the pharmacy work flow in Philip. Overall, I was very impressed with the great patient-provider relationship that exists in Philip.

During our free time, Joe and I tried to get involved in the community. We had a great time playing a few games of slow-pitch softball on Thursday night. Friday night we attended the “steak-out” at the local “73 Lounge,” in which each person grills their own steak and toast and potatoes are provided. This was a great social event and had a large turnout of community members as well. That night we also attended the street dance in the neighboring town of Kadoka. It was a great first week in Philip, and I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks!

Week Two
Week two was another busy week in Philip. On Monday, Joe and I spent the day in the lab shadowing Connie Sandstrom. We learned about the different lab tests and panels that can be ordered by practitioners. Joe and I also drew each other’s blood. This was very cool because as a pharmacy student, this is not something that we regularly have the opportunity to do. After the draw, Connie ran a few tests on our samples and allowed us to examine our own blood under the microscope.

The next few days were spent following different practitioners in clinic visits and emergency room calls. We also followed Janel Gerberding on rounds in the nursing home. This was a very educational experience as each nursing home patient presented a unique situation regarding their healthcare needs. I was also able to assist Janel by suggesting a few alternative therapy options to avoid drug interactions. After a full day of work, Janel treated Joe and I with a trip to the local pizza and ice cream shop. The ice cream was great and the restaurant seemed very nice; I’m sure Joe and I will be making another trip over there soon! On Friday, I spent the day working with Courtney at the local Dakota Country Pharmacy. We had a great day and stayed very busy preparing for the holiday weekend.

Joe and I have also been making progress in promoting the HPV vaccination. We have been speaking with providers, pharmacists, and nurses about the vaccine, and have received excellent feedback. Outside of work, Joe and I again played in the local slow-pitch softball league on Thursday night.

Week Three
Week 3 was another great week in Philip. It was a short week as Monday was the Fourth of July holiday. Joe, Madicen, and I spent the day hiking in The Badlands National Park. We had a good time and only got a tad sun burnt. However, we did not see a rattlesnake which was slightly disappointing but probably a good thing. On Tuesday we spent the day with the radiology staff at Philip Health Services. This was a very educational day as I do not have much experience in examining radiologic images.

Nathan and Joe hiking in the Badlands.

Wednesday Joe and I spent the morning with Heidi Burns, the community health nurse for the Philip area. This was a huge learning curve for us as we did not fully understand the duties of a community health nurse prior to this experience. We also had a great conversation with Heidi about the HPV vaccination and the need to increase the number of those vaccinated in the area. She has made great efforts already, and showed us the presentation that she gives at the high school regarding STDs. We left multiple posters for Heidi to display in hope of increasing public knowledge of the vaccine.

Thursday and Friday were spent following Dr. Klopper and Dr. Holman. We came across a variety of interesting patient cases in the clinic, ER, and in the nursing home. Both physicians are great with patients and do an excellent job of promoting learning opportunities for Joe and I. Thursday evening we tried out the locally famous broasted chicken from Coyle’s Supervalue. The chicken lived up to the reputation, it was delicious. On Friday evening, Joe and I played slow-pitch softball again in the county league.

Week Four
Our final week in Philip was another great one. We started off the week by spending Monday morning at the Silver Leaf Assisted Living Center. Stephanie is the nurse at the center and she allowed us to review patient charts and have a nice visit with many of the residents. The staff also treated us to a great lunch. That afternoon, I went to work on my presentation that Courtney had asked me to present for the pharmacy team. On Tuesday, I spent the morning with Marcy in home health. We traveled to Kadoka and visited a few patients in their homes. This was a great learning experience being able to see how patients understand their medications and treatment goals in their daily lives. Marcy also gave me a tour of the Kadoka clinic and nursing home before returning to Philip. That afternoon I spent some time working with Courtney at Dakota Country Pharmacy and gained more retail experience.

On Wednesday, I gave a presentation to the pharmacy staff and Joe about schizophrenia. Courtney provided lunch, and we had a nice discussion about the disorder and various health topics as well. Thursday, Joe and I worked in the clinic following Terry with patient visits. That day we also presented our final presentation for the Philip Community and hospital staff. Cheri also provided lunch for those in attendance and gave a nice introduction about the program for Joe and I. We greatly appreciated the number of people that attended our presentation and enjoyed visiting with everybody about our experience. Thursday night we also played in the local slow-pitch softball league.

Friday was my final day of the REHPS experience and it got off to a quick start. A major accident occurred on the interstate, which brought a trauma code into the Philip ER. This extreme case made for a great learning experience as Joe and I were able to help the nursing staff and PA care for the patient. We spent the rest of the day following Terry in the clinic through a variety of patient visits. As the day ended, I made my way around the facility to say my good-byes to all of the great friends I had made during my time in Philip. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the REHPS program, and I would like to thank everyone in the Philip community for the wonderful hospitality during our stay.