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Rural & Veteran 2011


Students in the rural and veterans clinical group spent one week in Washington D.C., gaining clinical experience at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the VA Flagship Hospital, and visiting with recently returned military personnel. They also visited the Pentagon and other war memorial sites. This experience helped them to better understand and appreciate the experiences and sacrifices of our U.S. Veterans. In Utah, students’ clinical settings included outpatient clinics at the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center, CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic) and hospice settings. The variety of settings gave students exposure to the Veterans’ health care system and their need for access to a variety of health care needs.

In addition, students chose to work in small, rural community inpatient and/or outpatient settings. They became involved in the rural community experience including public health, local hospitals, home health and/or hospice, school nursing, or any other unique setting in the particular community.  Each community had a rural hospital, which was used as the students’ home base. Many veterans live in rural communities as well, which gave students the opportunity to understand challenges to health care access.

The course is taught by two nursing faculty members who are also veterans. 



Student Reflections:

"The most meaningful experience occurred on a Sunday evening around twelve o'clock. We got a call from the emergency medical team that they were bringing a 72-year old male that had a cardiac arrest in his home to the emergency room. A couple of the nurses huddled around the ambulance scanner to find the address of the cardiac arrest patient. The patient was being brought from a small town of 600 people about 15 miles north of the hospital. One of the nurses was from that town and had lived there for thirty years. Upon hearing the address, that nurse realized the cardiac arrest patient was a close friend that lived across the street from her. She opened a phone directory to confirm her suspicions; she was right. The cardiac arrest patient was an older gentleman that had lived in the community for 40 years and was well-respected and loved by the community, family and friends

The nurses on the floor waited nervously for the ambulance to come. The EMS brought the patient in on a stretcher and transferred him to an ER bed. At that point we took over the chest compressions and started suctioning his mouth (during his cardiac arrest, this patient fell on his face and broke his nose). The EMS team told us that they had been doing CPR for about half an hour. We continued to do CPR for about five minutes; then the family of the patient came into the waiting room of the ER.  The on-call doctor at the time discussed the situation with the family. The doctor asked them what the patient (their husband and father) would want to do at this point. After a fifteen minute discussion, the family decided that their husband and father would want to stop CPR. The doctor entered the room where we were doing CPR and told us to stop, because the patient wouldn’t want to be resuscitated

It was an emotional time for the family and the hospital staff. The doctor and nursing staff let the family into the room to say their last goodbye. The one nurse that knew the family stayed in the room with the family and mourned with them. Everyone came together and offered support and concern for the family that lost a loved one

After completing this course I have resolved to live and raise a family in a rural setting. There is a sense of family in the rural community. This sense of family and togetherness is strong in the rural hospitals. At the Fillmore hospital, I found that the Healer's Art is more than nursing. It's about being a good husband, father, community member and friend. It’s about putting others’ needs above your own. It's about putting your arm around someone that has had a bad day. It's about being honest and true to yourself and others."

- Jared

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