Shelby’s Blog     Back to Students 2013

Platte, South Dakota
Week 1

Coming into Platte this past week has been an amazing experience thus far. I have never been in a community where the individuals are more welcoming and kind. The enthusiasm Platte shows towards students and their rural health care experience is incredible. This past week I have had the opportunity to work with physical therapists and clinical laboratory scientists. These areas were both unique, and very new to my healthcare experience. The health care workers I have had the opportunity to work with have all been excellent role models for any student to learn from. They are passionate about their area of work, and understand the importance of rural care. I look forward to what these next few weeks have in store for me. The opportunity to work with patients and learn from all areas in the health care field is a wonderful learning tool I could not be more excited about!

Week 2

This past week was a learning experience for both Erin and me. To start the week off ,we got to sit in on an eConsult with a patient who was receiving treatment for multiple myeloma. The way technology has shaped medicine and is impacting the advancement for the medical field is astonishing! This opportunity allowed us to watch the oncologist from Sioux Falls communicate via tele-med with his patient that was still in Platte. It was a great start to our week! After the eConsult I was off to cardiac rehab to watch a patient strengthen the muscles in his heart after having a stent placed in his right coronary artery due to a severe blockage. The nurse we followed during cardiac rehab was great at explaining the importance of every exercise and took the time to help Erin and I both learn the complex mechanisms of the heart. The last part of my day was one of my favorite things so far during my stay in Platte. While shadowing in radiology we were able to see a 20 week ultrasound done on a patient. It was not only fascinating to see, but beautiful and exciting! Monday was a busy day full of learning opportunities and great teachers to help make everything fun and interesting. 

Tuesday was spent at the locally owned pharmacy downtown Platte. The pharmacist, I spent the day with, made me excited for my future in the field of pharmacy. I loved the small town patient interaction, the genuine staff I had the opportunity to work with, and learning the importance of rural pharmacy. I look forward to spending more time at the pharmacy throughout my stay. Wednesday morning was spent watching an EKG and seeing a stress test done on a patient with a potential cardiac problem in the future. My teacher during this opportunity was the same one for cardiac rehab and related everything back to pharmacy. She was great to say the least and made me use knowledge learned in school during the process. 

Thursday was spent sitting in on a diabetic educational meeting for two patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This was interesting to me since one of my last subjects this past semester was spent on learning medication and the physiology behind this disease. After the meeting Erin and I went to the dietitian and listened in on carbohydrate counting for diabetics and the importance of a proper diet. It was informational and will help me in my future. Friday was my last day for the week and was spent with the hospital nurses. They were so kind and willing to let me interact with patients and even take out an IV (it was pretty harmless, but gave me a bit of an adrenaline rush!). The shift was quite steady in the morning but slowed down during the afternoon after the doctors has made their rounds and discharged patients. It was a great end to my week! The nurses were very helpful and explained everything to me in a way that I could understand. As you can see, this past week was a learning experience from many fields. I am excited for this upcoming week and to keep progressing in my education of rural health!

Week 3

This past week has been AMAZING! Words can’t even begin to describe how much I have learned and how much I have enjoyed working with the physicians in Platte. On Monday I once again had the opportunity to follow the radiology department. The girls that work in this field in the hospital are beyond welcoming and explain everything to me so well. I got to experience an ultrasound again, I think I could see a million of these and never get tired of watching them! I also learned about MRI’s more in depth and was able to see the different uses of the machine. I always enjoy going and learning from the radiology department. They have made my three weeks here incredible!

The rest of the week I was with physicians and a pharmacist downtown Platte. I had so many learning opportunities and was even able to find the heart beat of a pregnant mom who was at 32 weeks! I was beaming with excitement! I saw many different areas of the importance of rural healthcare this past week and enjoyed the physicians who took the time to teach Erin and me these concepts. On Friday, I learned how to suture. Who would have ever thought a pharmacy student would want to know how to suture? I look forward to practicing my skills in the future even though I will probably never have to use them on any of my patients :) . I have a little over a week left in Platte and I am so thankful for my time here so far. I look forward to learning and applying my knowledge gained here throughout my career as a pharmacist.

Week 4

Wow! I don’t even know where to begin with this last post about my time in Platte. It has gone so fast I don’t even know where the time has went! Throughout my time here, I have had the opportunity to get to know this wonderful community and some of the individuals that live here. Erin and I have explored downtown, the local shops, and got to try out many of the local restaurants. This experience has been gratifying and has not only taught me about my future medical career, but has broadened my overall prospective on rural towns in general. We have three days left here and I plan on taking full advantage of them!
This past week Erin and I worked on our project and had the opportunity to take blood pressures and check blood sugars for the individuals in Platte. We did this at the local pharmacy, Hoffman Drug. Working with the ladies of Hoffman Drug is always a rewarding experience! We kept busy the past week planning and preparing a hand-out to help teach people the important ways to lower their blood pressure by using nonpharmacological treatment. The project went great and we had fun getting to know more members of the community!

During these last four weeks there are many opportunities that I have gained knowledge from that will further advance and develop my career as a pharmacist. I have learned the importance of branching out and getting to know people who do not always work directly in your medical field. The medical staff at Platte is beyond exceptional and has made sure to put Erin and mine’s time here a top priority. This was a wonderful learning tool and I encourage any future students to apply for REHPS! As mentioned earlier, Wednesday is our last day here and I hope to make these last days count! I couldn’t be happier with my time spent here in Platte.