December 17, 2017

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A Medical Student’s Privilege to Serve Patients

Third-year medical student Ingrid Anderson

Growing up Ingrid Anderson always knew she wanted to work in a field that allowed her to serve others especially those in under served areas.  Her parents instilled that desire in her, leading by example.  When it came time for Ingrid to go to college and pick a major, she felt drawn to the medical field because it would allow her to incorporate service into her daily life.  As a medical student in the Rural Physician Associates Program (RPAP), Ingrid has the unique opportunity to do so.

Practicing Medicine at ACMC

Everyone at ACMC is incredibly welcoming to me—patients, providers and staff alike.  The providers and staff are eager to teach me and my fellow RPAP students, and our patients have been so willing to let me participate in their care.  I’m enjoying my time with ACMC-Willmar because the experience of serving a smaller community is more personal.  Practicing in a smaller community allows providers, and students like me, to get to know our patients and their histories.  Patients aren’t just a number here.  They’re people you get to know.

My rotation has given me the opportunity to see what practicing medicine in a smaller community would be like.  Because I’m most interested in family medicine, I’ll spend a large portion of my time at ACMC with my preceptor Dr. Michael Nicklawsky, making rounds to check up on patients and spending the rest of the day in clinic.  I’ve just begun my rotation in OB/GYN—experiencing everything from clinic appointments to overnight deliveries—and will also have rotations in general and orthopaedic surgery and urology.  I also have an interest in learning more about dermatology and allergy/asthma.

 Giving Back to the Community

When I first began my rotation with Dr. Nicklawsky, I met a patient during our rounds at the hospital.  I was fortunate to see her again in clinic when she brought her son in, and she’s also an OB patient.  I appreciate the continuity of care and the ability to develop relationships with patients like her.  Working at ACMC has affirmed my interest in working in a smaller region or an under served area.  You may not find the same access to patient care you would in larger regions even though the medical needs are just as diverse.

In college I took a trip to Peru, where we cared for children and adults in orphanages and remote villages.  The chance to provide care to patients who had received minimal care in the past was both rewarding and challenging.  There were often complex social situations that impacted health care outcomes and there were rarely clear solutions.  While Minnesota certainly is different than my experiences in Peru, you don’t have to look far to find people who have complex social situations that impact their health care outcomes.  I want to give back to the community, working creatively through these challenging situations to provide care to communities and improve their overall healthcare outcomes.  After medical school I could see myself serving an area like this or working in a poorer, more urban setting.  For me, giving back is extremely gratifying.

I’ve always believed that one of the greatest privileges of working in medicine is that you have the opportunity to get intimately involved in people’s lives.  They open up to you in ways they don’t to others.  They trust you to care for their health.  This is especially true in a rural area like the communities ACMC serves.  As a relationship-oriented person, it’s a natural fit for me to be part of a practice that focuses on developing relationships through high quality care.  It’s an honor to be able to say I was a part of this for nine months as a medical student at ACMC.