Rural Rotation Experience: Jens Johnson

In August, third year medical student, Jens Johnson, spent eight weeks in his hometown of Chadron, Nebraska for his rural community Family Medicine rotation.

Jens spent time at Chadron Medical Clinic and Chadron Community Hospital and shared some of his experiences and appreciation for his hometown.

  1. What was the most rewarding part of your rural rotation?
    The most rewarding part about a rural rotation is the ability to practice the skills and knowledge that I have spent the last two years learning about. All of the doctors that I had the pleasure to work with let me participate in procedures, deliveries, complicated cases, ER cases, difficult patients, etc. Without any other students or residents there, I was able to participate in the patient care more than I ever thought possible for a third year medical student. This experience is something that cannot be gained anywhere else.
  2. What is the most valuable thing you learned during your time in Chadron?
    It’s difficult to narrow this question down to a single topic. If I had to pick one, I would say a newfound respect for the rural primary care health professional. The ability to manage complicated patients, emergency situations, and a demanding clinic schedule without consistent specialist or state-of-the-art technological assistance impressed me more than I can convey in this question. The sheer amount of knowledge and experience needed to practice in an area like that is challenging. Every doctor I worked with was decisive and well informed. They showed me that I needed to stay current on information, stay confident, and still be someone that can be relied on.
  3. How has your perspective about medicine changed?
    As a student that is interested in nearly every medical field and practice, being able to see how rural hospitals and rural practitioners function completely peaked my interest in Family Medicine. I went into this rotation with some major questions about what field I wanted to eventually fall in to. I had the vast majority of these questions answered in a very positive way. Unless another rotation absolutely blows me away, I’m confident that I will become a family physician in a rural area.
  4. How has your perspective about Family Medicine changed?
    As I said above, I would need a fairly convincing rotation to change my mind about going into Family Medicine. I loved nearly everything about the field in a rural setting.
  5. Final thoughts?
    And student that has even the slightest interest in Family Medicine should go to Chadron for their rotation. The doctors there let me be as involved as I wanted to be (which was as much as possible). Even if the student has interests in other fields such as ER, OB, or surgery, the amount of experience that I gleaned from these areas is tough to match. I absolutely loved it.

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