ORANGEVILLE, Ill. – When his father fell ill several years ago, interactions with his doctors stood apart from Rock Falls native Heather Moser.
“Going through this interaction with him and really getting an eye-opening look at a lot of different perspectives, from ER visits to neurology visits and all the things that went with him getting sick, really opened my eyes,” said- she declared.
“I want to be part of it. I want to help people, especially those in a rural community who don’t always have the best access to health care.
Moser pursues his dream of practicing medicine in a rural community. The current nurse and medical student is a participant in the Rural Illinois Medical Student Aid Program who is also enrolled in the Rural Medical Education Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford .
And to learn more about the healthcare needs of rural residents, especially farmers, Moser joined 26 RMED students on a recent RIMSAP-sponsored No Harm on the Farm tour, where two farms in Stephenson County served as classrooms for the day.
Tractor rollovers. A limb caught in an auger. A grain silo accident. All involve injuries that medical professionals in rural areas can treat.
The tour, led by Doug and Dan Scheider, owners of Scheidairy Farms in Freeport, and Mark Baker, Orangeville farmer and founder of Stateline Farm Rescue, focused on farm injuries and illnesses and how to treat them.
Equally important, the students received tips on how to talk to farmers.
“Farmers generally don’t like going to see you,” Doug Scheider told the group. “You have to talk about other things and build relationships of trust.”
Farmers can spend many hours a day on the combine, causing back stress and other problems. Farmers may also have problems eating healthy and breathing chemicals, as well as mental health issues.
They may also have hearing impairments due to proximity to noisy equipment.
“So just in case you’re talking to someone and you think you’re not succeeding, they might not be able to hear you,” Scheider said.
Scheider also sits on the RMED Recruitment and Retention Committee. He and his son Dan showed medical students their dairy farm – a tour they gave for 16 years – with Dan noting that his fear is having no choice of medical care in rural areas due to a shortage of professionals.
They expressed their gratitude for the students’ interest in rural medicine, with Dan adding that his son was delivered by an RMED graduate.
The second leg of the tour took place at Baker’s farm, where students participated in a hands-on simulation of rescuing trapped grain led by Baker.
Baker, also a firefighter and emergency medical technician, said his experience shows him farm accidents look more “horrible” today.
“I think a lot of it is because we’re trying to do more with less help,” he said. “The equipment we use is getting faster and faster. Thus, our reaction time can be less. The average age of a farmer is 60 years old. We no longer travel as before. »
The students experienced being both rescuers and victims during a grain trap using a simulator in Baker’s garage.
“We want to try to make them aware of the trauma and the violence of some of these wounds,” Baker said. “So when they go to practice as a doctor, they will be prepared for it.”
Cheyenne Carr, a first-year medical student at El Paso, said the simulation was an amazing experience, from learning about the different types of injuries that can occur to lifesaving logistics.
Carr and Moser are part of RIMSAP, sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois State Medical Society.
RIMSAP helps applicants to medical school overcome financial need or overcome academic barriers to medical education with a recommendation for acceptance into medical school and/or a loan of money.
In return, students must agree to practice medicine in an approved rural community in Illinois for a set number of years, depending on their circumstances.
Mark Meurer, associate director of recruitment and public relations for RMED, coordinated the No Harm on the Farm tour for 16 years.
He noted that RMED, which includes rural health education in addition to the medical school curriculum, has seen an increase in student numbers over the past decade.
“But we’re the only program in the whole country that actively goes out and recruits students from rural backgrounds to go to medical school,” Meurer said.
The program, which is the nation’s largest rural medical education program, has 104 students from 11 states enrolled.
“So this is our opportunity for our future rural doctors to get out on a farm and really experience the farming lifestyle, culture and working environment in a modern agricultural setting,” he said. he declares.
This story was distributed as a cooperative project between the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association.
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