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News Health-Care Students Learn about Interprofessional care in a Rural Setting

Health-Care Students Learn about Interprofessional care in a Rural Setting

​Centralia, IL (March 8, 2016)SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Centralia in partnership with the National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP) University of Illinois Rockford will become the learning center for two unique programs that train health professions students for rural practice.  

“We are very excited to be back in Centralia at St. Mary’s Hospital this summer," said Vicki Weidenbacher-Hoper, Assistant Director, NCRHP.  "The staff at St. Mary’s and the Centralia community has welcomed students here each summer and have provided them with a learning experience they cannot get in the classroom and yet is essential in building respect, understanding, and camaraderie in the healthcare community. ”   

In its ninth year at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, the Rural Interprofessional Health Professions Summer Preceptorship is an intensive six-week summer experience in which a group of students, staff and faculty come together to learn how the different health professions work together to provide healthcare in a rural community.  The experience consists of following physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists and public health professionals through their daily rounds, participating in interprofessional team meetings, a community service learning (CSL) project and a classroom component where students reflect on their experiences with a NCRHP faculty member.  

Andrew Partain, a pre-med student from Southern Illinois University had this to say about the preceptorship, "This preceptorship has provided me with a holistic view of the rural healthcare system. I feel that this program illuminated necessary rural health components that I was previously unaware of." Under the guidance of Dr. Laura Payne, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, participating students will be working with Linda Knolhoff from the Felician Wellness Center and Sonya Germann from the Centralia Recreation Center.  The students will help plan, coordinate and implement a Health and Wellness Fun Fest targeting children in kindergarten through 8th grade and their families, including parents and grandparents.

The second experience, the Rural Health Experience (RHE) is a 3-to-5 Day rural immersion experience for health professions students interested in learning about the delivery of health care in a particular rural community.   The RHE is designed to:  
  • Provide experience in rural healthcare settings;
  • Acquaint students with rural lifestyle;
  • Convey knowledge and appreciation for a variety of health professions disciplines;
  • Create awareness of rural health needs;
  • Provide an opportunity for students to learn and work in an environment that supports health professionals working together; and
  • Encourage awareness and acceptance of different cultures and promote learning through active and organized participation in the community.

Applications for both programs can be obtained on NCRHP’s website  under the Summer Opportunities tab.  Questions can be directed to Vicki Weidenbacher-Hoper by email or phone at 815-395-5854.