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Fairfield Memorial Hospital and South East Illinois AHEC was recently the host site for two medical and pharmacy college students during a three day Rural Health Experience.  Fairfield had the opportunity to showcase the local community and provide an overview of what rural medicine is about through Fairfield Memorial Hospital.

 The two students Kimberly Helkamp, Medical Student, and Jessica Rawlings, Pharmacy Student, had the opportunity to reach outside their profession and spent time with the Wayne County Health Department, FMH Home Health Agency, FMH Senior Life Solutions, Lance Endsley, PharmD, FMH Pharmacy Director, Kiddie College, FMH Social Services, and FMH Physical Therapy Department.  They also had the opportunity to shadow Emergency Physicians (Michelle O’Neill, M.D., and Scott Roustio, M.D.) and join Horizon Healthcare’s Physician Assistants (Kayla Bell, PA-C, Phil Blaich, PA-C, and Lois Dishman-Cooper), in clinic rounds. 

Medical Student, Kimberly Helkamp, stated, “This was a wonderful experience.  I truly enjoyed seeing how rural hospital interdisciplinary teams interact with one another in order to achieve the highest quality of care for their patients.   They obviously care deeply for the patients they care for, many of whom they know personally, making their job even more meaningful.”

“Fairfield is definitely a more rural area than my hometown of Jacksonville, IL; however, I believe it is a very positive quality when it comes to working in heath care.  The staff members are more personable and relaxed since they know so many of their patients personally and regularly care for them and their family members.  I hope that Southeastern Illinois Rural Health Workforce Development Network (SEIgrow) continues to work with the RMED and RPHARM programs to provide this rural experience,” said, Jessica Rawlings, Pharmacy Student.

In addition to the healthcare shadowing, the students enjoyed dinner at locally owned restaurants, a pork burger sale, along with hearing the tunes of the City Band. 

“Overall I believe the experience was a wonderful one for these students.  They definitely enjoyed seeing the social and health characteristics, needs, and resources of our rural community.  I hope their stay may have sparked interest in choosing Fairfield as a future career location,” stated Beth Wilson, Director SEI-AHEC, who organized the student visit.

Pictured is Beth Wilson, Director with SEI- AHEC (center) with Kimberly Helkam and Jessica Rawlings, Medical and Pharmacy students who recently visited Fairfield during a three day Rural Health Experience.



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