Randall’s Blog

Back to Students 2014

Week 1 Redfield, South Dakota

What a fun filled week! I was able to participate in the REHPS program in my hometown of Redfield, SD, so it was great being able to see some familiar faces. I love the small town atmosphere and after spending the last five years in towns considerably larger than Redfield it was really nice to slow things down again.

Our first day on Wednesday had us thrust right into the action. My partner in crime, Brittany Williams, and myself get to bring a large spectrum of knowledge into our experience. We got to start seeing patients immediately and got to see the “other side” of healthcare. It was really neat to see the work behind the scenes. This experience has definitely been eye-opening from the perspective of patients having to wait forever in clinic rooms. Providers and nurses really do have other things to do during the day and aren’t just tormenting patients by making them wait!

This upcoming week should be even better than last week. I will be continually learning more of the pharmacy side of things because of Brittany. I will also be able to start polishing my skills at suturing. I am really looking forward to getting involved in my community again and in addition, being able to make a positive impact. Tune in next week! Thanks!

Week 2
What a week! We were able to dive into more of the rural healthcare experience by being more involved with an entire week of work. We got to see different roles of healthcare professionals and were able to learn more of the behind the scenes work in the hospital and clinic setting.

I am constantly learning more and more pharmacy knowledge because my partner in crime is a textbook of information on the patients’ medications. Also, we were able to be part of an e-medicine experience in the Community Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. We were able to see how the rural healthcare team was able to use and incorporate the specialty physicians in Sioux Falls, SD. Brittany and I saw how the nursing staff, physicians, and lab technicians come together to ensure that the patient’s get the optimal care. Then, we continued to see patients in the clinic and hospital. In these times were able to gain valuable knowledge with a varied patient population.

This upcoming week should continue the great experience. We are scheduled to travel to an outreach clinic in Doland, SD, spend time with a hospital pharmacist, rotate out to the South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield, SD. In addition, we will be following a few different healthcare providers to get their unique perspective on medicine. Until next time!

Week 3

This week we were all over the place…literally! We had a great week following all different aspects of rural healthcare. We were able to follow some physician assistants and saw how much they are able to do in a rural healthcare setting. They are an absolutely vital part of the healthcare system in Redfield.  Brittany and I also got the pleasure to follow a hospital pharmacist for a morning. As a young medical professional I didn’t know that a difference even existed between a retail pharmacist and a hospital pharmacist. Shows how much more I will need to learn and experience. The next stop we had was with the home health services. We were fortunate enough to catch a ride around Spink County in Big Bertha! It is a true rural SD vehicle that gets you from point A to point B. I would have to say I probably wouldn’t take it to prom, but it worked great for us! Finally we ended our week at the South Dakota Developmental Center. Brittany and I followed a couple psychiatrists as they consulted with the residents and staff with various medication changes and schedules. We also saw how the Physician Assistant is the first line for healthcare on the compound. On a regular basis he sees anything from colds to putting in sutures. The staff at SDDC was very friendly and gave us a tour of the complex. That place functions basically like a small town.

Another great part about the REHPS program is that it allows people to be home and be involved in the small town life. I was able to attend one of my best friend’s weddings this last weekend and it was great to see all of my old friends. The experience has gotten me excited to get through school and get back to my hometown life.

Another fun filled week is ahead for the REHPS duo. Until next time!

Week 4
My time in Redfield and my summer time is quickly coming to an end. I have had a great time and will miss Redfield as I head back to Vermillion to start my second year of medical school. I was able to learn a ton during my time at Redfield. One of the best parts of my experience was getting familiar with the interconnections between the entire healthcare system.

The last week of REHPS did not disappoint. I was able to sit in on several emergency room visits and also got to participate with the E-medicine technology. I also was able to be apart of several small procedures that are done at Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield. We saw skin biopsies, lancing of cysts, and mole/skin tag removal. I also got to travel to Doland, SD to visit the “World Famous Doland Clinic”. I got to see how simple and efficient healthcare can be. I thought that it was very interesting to see how people are willing to travel quite a distance to see a physician in a smaller, simpler, more private setting. The Doland Clinic experience was refreshing and reassuring to know that healthcare in even the smallest of South Dakota communities is alive and will continue to be available.

I was also able to spend time in the other areas of healthcare during my last week of the REHPS. I spent an afternoon with both physical therapy and pharmacy. The physical therapy department stays very busy on a daily basis and serves a lot of people. They provide a variety of exercises, stretches, and treatments to the patients. Since I only got to spend an afternoon with the physical therapy department, I wasn’t able to see some of the progress that the patients achieve. However, with the skill and perseverance of the staff I have no doubt that the patients do very well after their time in the physical therapy department. During my afternoon spent in Randall’s Pharmacy, the retail pharmacy in Redfield, I got to see how technology has also changed the pharmacy side of healthcare. Almost everything is now automated and computer based. This undoubtedly increases the efficiency and productivity of the pharmacy. That afternoon I also saw how the pharmacists’ scope of practice is more than just filling prescriptions because we saw how pharmacists now are able to give vaccinations.

Redfield and the REHPS program was a great experience. I definitely feel that I have learned a lot and will be better prepared in my future clinical experiences because of this program. I hope that our research project will also help REHPS students in the future. I can’t say that I would rather go back to school at this point, because I know that I would much rather have the rest of the summer off! But oh well, the sooner I get back to it the sooner my dream of becoming a small town doctor in Redfield will come true. Thank you to everyone that helped me along the way during this journey and thank you to the REHPS program for providing me with this opportunity!!!