Monday, February 13, 2017

Taylor Evans: From a Small Hospital to a Level 1 Trauma Center

            The population size of Waverly, IA is about 10,000. This is where I had been living and volunteering for the past three and a half years. I signed up to work in the Emergency Department of the Waverly hospital so I could begin to learn the ropes of real patient care. I often sat at the nurses’ station waiting for a call that would send the paramedics on their way to bring back a patient in need of help. During the majority of my shifts, I did not see that happen. Oftentimes, instead, someone would walk in with an injury or complaining of pain and they would be admitted and taken care of. I found the atmosphere to be fairly relaxed. Not in a bad sense, there just were not normally very urgent injuries. Typically, there were not a lot of patients at once, and injuries or concerns could be easily diagnosed and treated. I enjoyed working at Waverly Health and I am very grateful for the things that I learned there. Before moving to Denver, I thought I had a great feel for what an emergency department looked like. Boy, was I wrong.
            The population size of Denver, CO is about 650,000. To say this is larger than Waverly would be an understatement. This is where I am now living and volunteering, spending much of my time at Denver Health, specifically within the Emergency Department. Volunteering here showed me that I knew next to nothing about working in a hospital. Denver Health is the Rocky Mountain Regional Level 1 Trauma Center, meaning they receive patients from all over the region to give them the best care. This was quite a change from the small hospital of Waverly, IA where I came from.
            Things at Denver Health are urgent, fast-paced, and demanding, just as the patients and the injuries they sustain require. Half the time, I think I am more in the way than of any help to doctors and nurses who are constantly taking care of their normally full Emergency area. They are often receiving calls as well as walk-in patients that they sort through to work to get each patient taken care of. I have seen things here at Denver Health that I would not have experienced anywhere else, and I have already learned an incredible amount along the way. I have been able to see broken femurs splinted, manic episodes resolved, lacerations stitched, a trauma thoracotomy, and that was only in the past two weeks!
            I have learned so much at Denver Health, and continue to learn more every day. I have even found that carrying sticky notes and notepads in my pockets is beneficial because more often than not, information comes at me way too fast and I can’t keep up! It definitely helps to write things down and ask questions later. Slowly, I am learning the jargon, the thought processes, and the protocol that comes with working in such a large and experienced hospital. Luckily, I have two more months so I can continue to learn and work on my own medical education. I get excited to work at Denver Health every day, and I look forward to (hopefully) making my way back here and becoming an employee of the hospital that I have grown to love.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joe Chamberlain on Denver: Weather, Parking, and Transportation

Students take part in Wartburg West for many reasons. One reason I came out to Denver was to get the experience of living in an urban environment. I want this experience because I do not know where I want to live when I graduate from Wartburg. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life in a rural environment, so living in a city for a period of time should give me insight on potential places I want to live post-Wartburg. Here are a few differences I have noticed in my short time here.

Compared to a Midwest winter, Denver is much milder. In the Midwest everyone cringes when they hear the words, “wind chill.” This is much less common here. From the short time I have been here, there has only been one time when I heard those words. From what I understand by talking to people that live here is that this is a rare occurrence. The snow in the Midwest does not come and go as it does in Denver. One day there could be 5 inches of snow on the ground, and the next day it could be 50 plus degrees out. When it snows in the Midwest, it stays for much longer than here in Denver, making the winter much tougher. However, this is completely different from the mountains, which people who are from here seem to obsess. Recently, it has been snowing so much in the mountains that they have had to close resorts!

Driving in the city is completely different from driving in rural areas of the Midwest. Compared to Denver there is no such thing as rush hour in Waverly or any small town in the Midwest. My internship is outside the city, so I am lucky enough to be driving out of the city when everyone is trying to get in, and driving back in the city when everyone is trying to leave. This is nice because I do not have to worry about traffic as much as others do. One nice adjustment to living in the city is you do not have to drive everywhere. The majority of things here are in walking distance. If you do not want to drive a car because of parking issues, you do not have to do so.

Parking in an urban environment can be a nightmare, especially if you fear that your car may get towed. It takes some luck and a little creativity to get yourself one of the tiny spots to parallel park your car into. I will be a pro at parallel parking by the end of this term. This was never really a problem in the Midwest. There seems to always be a good option, and I did not have to fear that my car might get towed. However, in Denver all day parking is hard to come by for free. Otherwise, you can park in places that allow overnight parking but limited day parking. I try to avoid those so I do not have to wake up and move my car. That is why, like stated earlier, I try to walk to places as much as possible. One thing that makes that easier is RTD, which is the bus system in Denver that is fairly easy to use and allows people to get places without having to drive and losing there all day parking spot.

These are just a few of the things that have taken some adjusting to moving here from the Midwest this semester. They all have their pros and cons. I can see why people would want to live in the Midwest rural areas and why people would want to live out West in an urban environment like Denver. I am excited to see what else I may encounter having to live in Denver, which will help me decide where I want to live post-Wartburg. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Elizabeth Crow on Life in the Big City

                I have always wanted to visit Colorado and for some time have been pondering the idea of living in the state after I graduate. When I first heard about Wartburg West I thought it was the perfect opportunity to not only visit but actually experience what it is like living in Colorado.  As I continued to learn more about the program I became curious about what it would be like to live in a big city like Denver. I obviously knew that the large city would be very different from the mostly rural areas in Iowa that I previously lived in, but I didn’t know how different. Upon arriving to Denver the first difference I noticed right away was the weather. I remember walking outside and it was sunny and 60 degrees. Back in Iowa if you walk outside in January the majority of the time it is going to be cold and gloomy.  I thought right away that I could I definitely get used to the milder winters here in Colorado.
                After living in Denver for four weeks, I have grown an appreciation for how close I am to everything. This is definitely not the case where I am originally from. It is nice to be able to walk to almost any location I need. Grocery stores are located only blocks away and I am able to walk down Colfax to the 16th Street mall and have a ton of restaurant and shopping options. I didn’t even need to drive to my internship because it was only a ten minute walk away. In rural areas everything is so spread out and you have to drive everywhere you go. Another appreciation of urban living I have is its pace.  The city life is fast and people are always on the go. Back home I felt like there was more down time that I wasn’t being productive with and that’s why I enjoy the pace because it is always keeping me busy and engaged.
                So far, my experience in Colorado has been a good one. Colorado’s culture is one that I could see myself being a part of. This program definitely won’t be the last time I’m out here.  As for urban life, after living in Denver for a bit, I am realizing that I truly enjoy it.  I am excited to continue to grow and learn out here in the city.