Rural Medical Internship
by Emily Shriner & Kendall Wills
This summer we had the privilege of participating in the Rural Medical Internship with Dr. Paul Evans C’90, and his wife Dr. Pam Evans C’91. For seven weeks, we completely immersed ourselves in rural medicine from coaxing the family’s goats back into their enclosure after a taxing day at the Evans’ clinic, to battling exhaustion at four in the morning while working in the emergency room. While all of these experiences are unique on their own, together they have taught us about the importance of the physician and patient relationship and increased our passion toward becoming medical professionals.
From going to work in the hospital and clinic, shopping at Walmart and knowing everyone there, and talking our way out of speeding tickets from small-town police officers, we truly experienced the life of a rural physician. Not only was it a blast to live in the country with Dr. Paul’s amazing family, but we had a hands-on medical experience like no other.
A typical day consisted of waking up early to do rounds in Baptist Memorial Hospital. Dr. Paul would assign a patient for each of us to follow throughout their time in the hospital. We were expected to evaluate their charts, including blood work, imaging, and vitals. We went into the patients’ rooms, assessed them, and then presented our information to Dr. Paul, suggesting a treatment plan. Rounding in the hospital allowed us to learn how to professionally communicate with patients and their families. This was the most unique part of the relationship, as most medical students do not have patient interactions until their third year of medical school.
In addition to the hospital rounds, we worked a full day in The Evans Clinic during the week. Not only did we assess patients, but we learned how to write prescriptions, scribe, and perform other assistant-type tasks. We even got our hands dirty by assisting with sutures, vaccinations, pap smears, and urinalysis. The clinic was an entirely different experience from the hospital because each patient had a unique complaint. It was fascinating to follow up with the patients and see them improve after starting a new prescription or treatment.
When we had a spare moment between patient visits, Dr. Paul was incredibly eager to answer any questions. He regularly lectured regarding various medical conditions and the underlying pathophysiology behind them. Some of our favorite lessons included the renal system, cardiac cycle, and “caveman physiology.”
Toward the end of the internship, we shadowed obstetricians, gynecologists, a urologist, a pediatric hospitalist, and a general surgeon. This allowed us to experience many different fields of medicine and further develop our interests. We both found a love of obstetrics while watching childbirths. We also greatly enjoyed working with the pediatric hospitalist and seeing how quickly the children’s conditions improved.
Overall, the internship was incredibly validating in regards to our future as health care professionals. The hands-on experience of interacting with countless patients and learning about the various fields of medicine allowed us to realize our passion to serve others in the field of medicine. We are truly grateful for the opportunity, as well as all of the knowledge and experiences gained while working with Dr. Paul.