YANKTON — For the fifth year, Huron Regional Medical Center recently welcomed health professions students for a four-week rural health experience.
Danielle Burns and Adam DeJong arrived in Huron on Monday, May 16, and finished their experience June 10.
Burns is from Raymond, Minn., and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2023 from Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) in Mitchell. DeJong, originally from Watertown, is in his 3rd year of nursing school at DWU.
Huron joins 11 other South Dakota communities, with populations under 14,000, selected to participate in Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS). The program is designed to bring health professions graduates, who are selected through a competitive process, to rural South Dakota for rewarding careers.
While in Huron, Burns and DeJong spent time in most of the departments within the hospital and clinics and also had the opportunity to go on rounds with doctors, caring for inpatients as well as observing various procedures in radiology and surgery.
Both students expressed how grateful they were to work with such amazing people who were knowledgeable and really took the time to show them the ropes.
“My first day was in the emergency room and there was a lot of activity – but it was the perfect start to my experience because I got to jump right in,” explained Burns. “My experience in the Birthing Center was the most impactful because I have always thought OB is where I’d like to work and my time at HRMC helped me confirm that desire.”
“I was given the opportunity to shadow all different kinds of departments throughout the hospital – many that I haven’t and wouldn’t have experienced as a nursing student,” explained DeJong.
“The time I’ve spent here and the people I’ve met and gotten to work with definitely made an impact on me for the good.”
In addition to experiences in the hospital, the students got involved in the community, which is one of the requirements of the REHPS program. The duo presented summer and sun safety information at Safety City and enjoyed sharing their knowledge with the children.
The 2022 REHPS communities are: Britton, Canton, Chamberlain, Custer, Faulkton, Huron, Martin, Parkston, Platte, Redfield, Scotland, Tyndall, and Winner.
The REHPS program connects interprofessional groups of students enrolled in clinical psychology, family nurse practitioner, medical, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and registered nursing programs at Dakota Wesleyan University, Presentation College, SDSU and USD.
“When selecting a site to host REHPS students, we look for a facility interested in the education of health professions students along with an understanding of the importance of giving them a first-hand look at how rewarding a career in rural medicine can be. The team at Huron Regional has provided all of our students a first-rate experience,” said Cheri Buffington, REHPS Program Director.
REHPS receives funding from the Office of Rural Health/South Dakota Department of Health and is managed by the Southeast South Dakota Area Health Education Center.