From March 7 to March 9, Carlinville Area Hospital and Clinics (CAH&C) partnered with Blackburn College to host the first Rural Health Immersion (RHI) program with six pre-health professional Blackburn students. RHI is a three-day immersion program shadowing health care professionals and other community interactions in a rural area.
During the RHI program, students were given the opportunity to meet with a panel of healthcare community providers and supporters including Dr. Jon Reid, Optometrist; Dr. Michael LeVora, Dentist; Mia Rhodes, Nurse Practitioner; Brittany Cunningham, Nurse Practitioner; Suzanne Stayton, County Health Department Board Rep; and Sarah Oswald, Carlinville Mayor. The panel shared their wide ranges of experience with the students along with the journeys that led them to rural health.
Through the RHI program, students gained experience and knowledge about rural health care and what it means for the community by visiting each of the different departments of the hospital, shadowing in areas of particular interest, engaging in emergency scenarios and roundtables, and completing a Basic Life Support class to obtain their BLS certification. They were able to experience how the different health professions and care settings interact to provide patient care both at CAH&C and in the community.
The program was made possible and a success by the help of CAH&C staff, Carlinville Area Hospital Foundation and Auxiliary, professional members of the community, Blackburn College Professor Ryan Welch, and the participating Blackburn College Pre-Health Professional students.
The second Annual Rural Health Immersion program is being planned for Spring 2024.