REHPS students Graves and Hanten share their experiences in Redfield
By Shiloh Appel
The Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield welcomed two more REHPS students from June 1st -29th this year. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the students, Brandon Hanten and Nathan Graves, had similar experiences to REHPS student Albert Wu, who came to Redfield in May of this year.
Hanten, who is a second-year medical student at USD Sanford School of Medicine, grew up on a farm in White Lake, SD, a small town with just over 300 residents. He graduated at the top of his class in high school in 2011 and went to undergrad at USD.
“I got my master’s degree at USD as well and then I enrolled in medical school here just last summer,” said Hanten. “I wasn’t originally supposed to come to Redfield. I was supposed to go to Miller, but because of COVID they couldn’t take any students, so I got moved to Redfield.”
Graves, a third year pharmacy student at South Dakota State University, grew up in Jefferson, Iowa, a town of about 4,000, and graduated from Jefferson-Scranton High School in 2010. He graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa in 2014.
“I applied [for the REHPS program] and I ended up getting accepted to Redfield. I was originally supposed to be here in Redfield,” said Graves. “With all of the COVID stuff, I wasn’t sure what sites would accept people, so I was glad Redfield decided to continue on with the program without adjusting it or anything too much. I would say two thirds of the sites backed out of the program.”
Neither Hanten nor Graves had spent substantial time in Redfield prior to their REHPS experience.
“I have driven through Redfield on my way to Aberdeen a couple of times. I stopped in at Appel’s gas station. So I knew of that place,” said Hanten. “But, other than that, I can’t say I’ve spent a long amount of time in Redfield at any given point.”
“Redfield is a completely new community to me. I hadn’t even traveled through South Dakota too much aside from going to Mount Rushmore on vacation one time, but then I was up in Brookings for school,” said Graves. “But this is probably the furthest into South Dakota that I’ve been aside from going over to western South Dakota for the Sturgis rally and stuff like that.”
While in Redfield, Graves and Hanten worked around the challenges of COVID-19. They visited Redfield’s nursing homes, were immersed in various different forms of healthcare, and got some insight into specialties they don’t normally get to see.
“I think we came at a time when a lot of things are trying to start reopening and reintegrating people back into it,” said Graves. “There weren’t many things that we weren’t able to go to that previous REHP students were able to go to. One of them would have been the Developmental Center. We didn’t go into that one, because they are under pretty good guidelines to keep people out, which is completely fair in a situation like this.”
Graves said he enjoyed getting to see what went on in the laboratory, radiology department, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
“It was kind of nice just having that exposure even on a smaller scale. The community itself has a lot to offer. The healthcare system has a lot to offer. We learned a lot. We saw quite a few different medical procedures and stuff like that just in the primary care,” said Graves.
Hanten said he enjoyed learning first hand about Home Health, which he had never seen before.
“I knew of it from working at a hospital previously, but I had never actually seen what they do and what their schedule is, so that was really cool,” said Hanten. “The other thing I really learned a lot about would be the ER. We were on call for certain nights and weekends. Just seeing how the smaller ER operates. Obviously, it is much different than the ones I was previously exposed to when I was doing clinical rotations at Sanford or Mckennan. So just seeing how things run around here was very insightful. We are always doing clinical rotations at the big teaching hospitals, but we don’t get to go to these remote locations and see the other side of healthcare and the multiple facets that go into the other side of healthcare, and I thought that was really good.”
Hanten said he also enjoyed fishing, frisbee golf, golfing at Fisher’s Grove, and watching ‘Jaws’ at the Pheasant City Drive-In. Graves went to the Drive-In as well to see ‘Jurassic Park.’
“We were invited to houses to go see people and people were always offering insights on where the best place is to eat, and lakes to go visit and where the good fishing spots are and all of that. Even though we were not able to do everything we would like to, they were still outstanding on that. That was very nice,” said Hanten.
“The medical community here welcomed us with open arms. Maybe that is because they have had many, many REHPS students before. Redfield is one of the oldest site locations for the REHPS program, which is kind of a cool little takeaway for them,” said Graves.
While in Graves and Hanten lodged in the United Church of Christ parsonage and were provided three meals a day by the hospital staff.
“That has been delightful,” said Hanten. “we didn’t have to pay for food while we have been here, which was very good.”
Hanten said he grew the most in “understanding” during his time in Redfield. He said he grew in understanding the many different facets of healthcare and “what happens to a patient when they leave my care.”
Graves said he grew the most through seeing unique scenarios that aren’t found in books.
“You are so used to learning from a set standard of care, so you think by the books more often than not, and critically thinking is something that is learned through hands-on experience more than learning through a book,” said Graves.
Both students expressed their thanks to the community of Redfield for all of the generosity and friendliness they encountered during their month-long stay.