Pharmacy Student Reflects on Time at TsehootsooI Medical Center

August 25, 2015 - Lia Jasperse

Lia Jasperse, a fourth year pharmacy student at the University of New Mexico completed her second rotation of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) at Tsehootsoi Medical Center (TMC) in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Ms. Jasperse wrote a short essay (below), describing her experience at Tsehootsoi Medical Center.

Experience at Tséhootsooí Medical Center

June 29th 2015 to July 24th 2015

By Lia Jasperse

Jasperse at TMC.My name is Lia Jasperse, and I am a 4th year pharmacy student at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. I was very excited to start my second Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) at Tséhootsooí Medical Center (TMC) in Fort Defiance, Arizona. I am from Gallup, New Mexico, which is a 40-minute drive to Fort Defiance, so I stayed in Gallup during this rotation and drove to TMC every day.

I participated in the hospital orientation for the first two days of rotation. It was a fun and informative experience, we were taught about the Navajo culture and many of the values and beliefs held by the Navajo people. It was pleasing to see that the hospital made a point to inform the incoming staff of the culture and people that they would be treating. It immediately gave a good impression of the hospital and its staff.

My preceptor for the rotation was LT Shannon Saltclah of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). When I started my rotation LT Saltclah was working in the pharmacist run diabetes clinic, so that was where I spent most of my first two weeks of rotation. I sat in during the patient appointments with LT Saltclah and talked with the patients and helped counsel them on hypoglycemia. I was impressed with LT Saltclah’s ability to work with the patients. She helped them to set goals and worked with each patient at their own pace to help them get their diabetes controlled.

Jasperse and Saltclah.Another program that I worked with LT Saltclah on was the Lifestyle Challenge Program (LCP) for Diabetes Prevention. She was a co-leader on the project and when I got to the site, they were at the end of the program. A lot of the participants in the program spoke highly of LT Saltclah and it was easy to see why; she is very motivated and passionate about everything that she does. Having her as my preceptor and following her in the DM clinic and for LCP really helped me to see clinical pharmacy in a good light.

Other pharmacy-run clinics that I enjoyed working in were the anticoagulation and asthma clinics. I was very happy with the fact that the pharmacists were able to meet with the patients one on one, counsel them and help make modifications on their regimens to help improve their health status. It definitely sparked my interest in clinical pharmacy.

I also had the pleasure of attending renal clinic, which meets at the Indian Health Services (IHS) in Gallup. I helped look up labs and helped with medication reconciliation. I was able to work in the inpatient pharmacy and counsel in the outpatient pharmacy. Another area I enjoyed working was with the pharmacist in the primary care clinic. We were able to work with the physicians and provided medication counseling and zoster vaccinations to their patients when applicable. It showed me how much the physicians relied on the pharmacists to help optimize patient care.

I was able to follow physicians in the pediatrics clinic, the primary care clinic, and the chest clinic. It was really interesting to see how the physicians work with their patients. They were all very welcoming and included me while they talked with the patients by asking me questions and by explaining what they were doing and why they made their recommendations.

Overall my rotation at Fort Defiance was a wonderful experience. I was exposed to many areas of pharmacy and I had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful and passionate healthcare providers. It was nice to see that the different departments of the hospital really integrated themselves not only at work, but outside of the hospital as well. I attended a few potlucks that were held to which people from different areas of the hospital attended.

Jasperse by Mesa.We were also given time to travel and explore the area, and there is a lot to explore.  I was fortunate enough to go to Telluride, Colorado and drive around the San Juan Skyway. It was a spectacular drive with gorgeous scenery. I also visited Mesa Verde in Colorado and Flagstaff, Arizona.

I really enjoyed this rotation and found myself sad to leave the site. Between the staff and the patients, I felt at home at Tséhootsooí, and am going to miss working with such wonderful and kind people.

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1001 Medical Arts Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

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