Rural Medicine Experience – Helping Me Develop My Style

Published in Medical Students

Having lived in the metro area all my life, coming out to rural Minnesota to gain medical experience has been quite interesting. I’m currently a third-year medical student at Des Moines University in Iowa, and when putting in my request as to where I wanted to go for my clinical rotation, I knew I wanted to come back to Minnesota. I was happy to find out I would be coming to ACMC because I’ve been told by other medical students that you get lots of hands-on experience here.

Medical Rotations

Since I’ve been with ACMC, I have rotated through a lot of different areas of medicine. So far, my favorites have been ER and Surgery, which were already primary interests of mine. When I’m in the ER the hours are long, but when it’s really busy it’s exciting because you have to focus on the “right here, right now” help that the patient needs. Everyone that walks through the ER door presents with something different.

One thing I’m really focusing on while I’m here is watching the styles of the many physicians I get to work with. It’s something that you just might not even think about, but it’s interesting when you get to step back and observe how they interact with their patients because everyone has a unique style. I’ve tried some different techniques and have enjoyed getting to enter the exam rooms and meet with patients.

Neil Johnson with Dr. Michael Nicklawsky

Neil Johnson with Dr. Michael Nicklawsky

The Patient Experience

As long as the patients are willing, I go in and do a history and physical exam by myself and come up with what I think is the medical problem. Then I present that information to the doctor and they walk me through my explanation and also help me explore what other possible outcomes there could be based on the information I collected. It’s interesting when we go back into the patient’s room together and I watch how the doctor examines and interacts with the individual to determine a diagnosis.

So far my medical school experience has been very rewarding. I’m trying to keep my mind open as to what specialty area I want to concentrate in after my fourth year of medical school. I’d also like to stay in Minnesota, maybe closer to home, but I don’t want to rule out anything. ACMC has been a great place for me to get the hands-on experience I was looking for and I would highly recommend others coming here, I’ve really learned a lot!