The Barre Health Center, surrounded by farms, horse stables and quaint New England small towns, may feel too distant from civilization for some...but to me, it provides the perfect mix of peaceful beauty and innovative family medicine. Not every week is like the one I am about to describe, but they usually are just as exciting, educational, and rewarding.
While driving through the scenic Rutland State Park on my way to the health center, I think about the diversity of patients scheduled for me today. A quarterly diabetic visit, an annual physical, and a mole removal with Dr. Hargreaves, a recent Barre resident who is now a faculty member. I look forward to playing with a four-year-old at her well child visit and seeing her smile as she picks out a vegetable from our wellness garden. I wonder what symptom the twenty-eight year old martial arts teacher with a somatoform disorder will tell me about today, and whether my eighty-six-year-old dementia patient will again ask me if I'm Italian during a home visit.
After a morning of hands-on experience managing chronic wounds and acute burns at the surgical wound clinic, I'm off to Grand Rounds and an afternoon of workshops with the rest of the 2nd year family medicine residents. This weekly event not only provides in-depth teaching from one of our dedicated faculty members, but also offers an opportunity to catch up with my fellow colleagues.
I begin the day attending a weekly meeting to make the health center a certified Patient Centered Medical Home. Later that day, I return to Barre for an evening clinic, which is followed by taking call for the health center. While on call, I am able to prevent an emergency room visit for a dehydrated woman by placing an IV and giving her IV fluids in our treatment room.
This is probably my favorite day of the week. Despite how hectic it may be, it ends with a relaxing but competitive game of trivia at the local tavern in Rutland with several residents and faculty members.
As I am currently in my surgery elective, I spend the morning with one of the friendly colorectal surgeons learning how to perform anoscope exams and treat hemorrhoids. In the afternoon I'm back to Barre for clinic. Typically I enjoy my lunch driving through the scenic town of Paxton and the aforementioned Rutland State Park, However, the morning session altered my appetite today.
After warm greetings from the nurses and office staff, I begin the session with one of my prenatal patients, a school teacher thirty-six weeks into her first pregnancy. We discuss signs of labor and I reassure her that I will be keeping my pager close, awaiting her call. I finish the session seeing a young, single man with severe agoraphobia in conjunction with Dr. Mullin, our faculty psychologist.
After seeing patients, I head to the conference room for "chart rounds" where residents, faculty, Dr. Mullin, and our invaluable psychology fellow and pharmacist review patient encounters in greater detail.
Ahh, a day off. Today's agenda includes buying fresh vegetables & bread at the weekly farmer's market in Barre Commons and a casual hike through the peaceful Rutland State Park.
On call for the health center today. I start off the morning rounding on two health center patients in the hospital with Dr. Grimaldi, our osteopathic faculty attending. Amidst answering patient phone calls, I stop by the nursing home in Holden to re-admit a patient who has returned from a recent hospital stay. Other than a short trip to the health center to suture a laceration, I am able to spend the rest of day at home answering patient phone calls.
Quite a week packed with many learning opportunities...but also ample time to relax and have fun with my new family in beautiful Barre!