I’m grateful for my rural health experience in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There were many takeaways from the opportunity to work in the hospital.
First, I gained a greater sense of the health care architecture serving greater Minnesota. The catchment area for this hospital served many small communities. Removing myself from the pediatric tertiary care center, the terminal end of the transfer chain, I gained a greater appreciation for the pathways of care, the services available, and a deeper understanding of what can be done and where.
The pediatric staff at CentraCare St. Cloud are excellent. It was both a great learning opportunity for me as well as a model of using one’s pediatric expertise to provide consultation to dedicated providers in the community and the emergency department who are taking care of kids. It felt like the core of my pediatric training had more impact than I experience on a daily basis in the Twin Cities.
Furthermore, I gained an understanding of what it means to practice full spectrum pediatrics. I covered an inpatient ward, rounded in a newborn nursery, provided emergency room consultation, and fielded outside calls from the community. Up until this time, I had limited other experiences in residency that afforded me the opportunity to balance all of those roles simultaneously.