Wessington Springs, South Dakota

This first week in Wessington Springs was a good one. Each morning started with the medical report in the hospital which was very informational. After report on Monday, I spent the day following Dr. Lim in the clinic as he met patients the rest of the day. This was a very good experience for me as pharmacists don’t often get to see what goes on in a clinic visit. Monday we also attended the medical staff meeting over lunch.

On Tuesday morning I followed Dr. Lim again. Over lunch we went to the Springs Area Community Club which is an organization of active citizens that does many great things for the community. After lunch we went to Plankinton to meet Jim Cody, the PA who provides healthcare services to the Aurora Plains Academy. He gave us a tour of the facility and we got to learn how healthcare services are provided in that setting.

On Wednesday I spent most of the day in Thornton Drug getting to know how they run their pharmacy. On Thursday I spent the morning in the clinic following Dr. Orstad and we took the afternoon to get our community projects planned. Friday I was in Thornton Drug again working with the pharmacist and still learning how things work in their pharmacy.

Week 2
This second week in Wessington Springs was much more relaxed as I’ve gotten used to each of the places I’m working. Each morning once again started with medical report and then rounds with the physicians. Monday, after rounds, I went and worked in Thornton Drug for the day. On Tuesday morning I followed Dr. Dean in the clinic, then went to lunch at the Springs Area Community Club meeting. On Wednesday and Thursday I worked in Thornton Drug. Friday morning I followed Dr. Lim in the clinic and in the afternoon I followed Dr. Orstad. Also, on Friday, Kim Burg took us on a tour of the town and showed us all the historical sites and gave us a lot of good information about the community. On Saturday, Tony and I did a blood pressure screening at the college reunion, which was a great experience and a good way to end our second week here in Wessington Springs.

Week 3
Our third week here in Wessington Springs was a busy one. We had two community service projects scheduled for this week along with our work at the clinic and hospital during the week.

On Monday morning, Tony and I followed Dr. Leland, a surgeon who visits Wessington Springs every so often. We got to see some of the small procedures he does and he told us about what goes into a surgery and how he likes to do things. In the afternoon I worked with Dr. Dean in the clinic seeing patients and also got to witness him perform a vasectomy.

On Tuesday morning, I followed Dr. Lim in the clinic after rounds and saw a few patients, then in the afternoon worked with Dr. Dean again. It’s been a very good experience for me to get to see the physicians work in the clinic as it gives me a much better idea as to the process of how a drug and dose is decided upon before it gets sent to the pharmacy as a prescription. This will help me in the future as I work with physicians as part of the healthcare team.

Wednesday morning was slow at the clinic, so I spent most of the morning talking to Terri Groves, the PA, about how she practices healthcare. I learned quite a lot from our discussion that will be helpful down the road. That afternoon Dr. Dean gave a presentation on Medicare which was highly informative. We learned a little about Medicare in classes this past year but his presentation went into much greater detail. After the presentation, we also discussed the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision and the healthcare bill, which he was also very informed about and gave us a lot of good information and some things to think about in regards to health policy.

On Thursday and Friday I worked in the pharmacy. What has been possibly the best learning experience for me here has been hearing the conversations between the pharmacist and physician from both sides. I also got a little better idea of some of the other duties a pharmacist has when running an independent pharmacy. There are a lot of little things that you often don’t think about a pharmacist doing that go into the business side of the pharmacy. Thursday evening we attended a baseball game and set up an informational booth about the necessity of bug spray to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate the risk of getting West Nile Virus. Quite a few people that were at the game stopped by to talk and look at the poster for a bit on their way to and from the concession stand.

Saturday we did a community service project at the pool regarding sun safety and the importance of sunscreen. The project went well and quite a few kids stopped by before the event was cut short by lightning. That night we attended the street dance and got to meet some of the people from town. It was a busy and fun week and hopefully our last week here in Wessington Springs will be the same way.

Week 4
Our fourth and final week in Wessington Springs was a little less hectic than the third week as we didn’t have many projects to do but we still had plenty to do before our REHPS experience was finished.

On Monday, I worked in Thornton Drug for the day. During this time I did a lot of the same things that I had gotten to do over the last three weeks. However, it was very busy on Monday so the work was a little more intense than it had been when I had been in the pharmacy before, which was a good learning experience for me.

On Tuesday, Tony and I gave our community presentation. We had a great time working on it and delivering it and it seemed that our audience enjoyed it as well. In the afternoon, I helped with an order the hospital pharmacy was receiving and again went out to work at Thornton Drug where I got to learn about dealing with the computer system being down which was another experience that will be helpful in the future.

Wednesday was the 4th, so we didn’t have to work. I did, however, help out with the 5K and the 1.5 mile walk the hospital sponsors. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of people in the community.

Thursday was my final day at Thornton Drug and we did a lot of rearranging of the OTC medications so I got to see how inventory is done and how the pharmacy tries to arrange their OTCs.

On Friday, I followed Dr. Lim in the clinic, which was a nice change of pace as I hadn’t gotten to work in the clinic for quite a while. Dr. Lim once again did a great job of helping me understand why he does things the way he does from a physician’s point of view, which will be very helpful as I’ll probably be working with a lot of them. This was a great experience and I’d like to thank Kassy and the REHPS program for selecting me to take part in it. The things I learned in Wessington Springs will be invaluable in my future career.