The Week Is Done

It’s been such a different trip than usual—even though we are going to many of the same places and completing the same activities, it is just different.  Not in a bad way though! 

Tuesday found us driving back toward Rapid City but this time for some sightseeing and cultural activities.  We went to Custer and were able to drive the loop and catch the burros just before the end of the loop.  I love the burros!  We came prepared with the healthy burro snack of carrots (instead of a past year’s unhealthy burro snack of Cheez-Its).  There were new precious baby burros that added to the excitement.  The park was especially crowded—it seems that everybody is at Sturgis this year.  After Custer, it was on to the Crazy Horse Memorial.  The memorial has daily presentations that I thought were only pow wow dancers.  I was anxious to get the students to a presentation since it would be their only opportunity to see regalia and dancing in person.  After hurrying to Crazy Horse, we arrived to find that the presentation was a flute player instead.  No disappointment though (not allowed)—the flute player was outstanding, and we were able to hear ‘Amazing Grace’ played on this special instrument.  Crazy Horse was even more packed than Custer so we did not stay long.  After depriving the students of a real lunch with my hurrying to Crazy Horse, we had a nice, sit-down dinner at the Colonial House in Rapid City.  That certainly did the trick to end the day.

Wednesday was our last day on the rez.  We started out with a guided tour of Red Cloud Indian School.  I’ve been to Red Cloud so many times but never actually toured the whole school/grounds.  This visit helped to fill in some of the gaps related to history and culture of the Lakota—with no pow wow and not being able to visit the OLC Historical Center, I do feel that the students are missing some important information.  Again, we’re doing the best we can with what is available.  Anyway, the chapel was beautiful and peaceful as always, and I climbed the hill to spend some time at Red Cloud’s grave for the first time.  We ended the tour in the Heritage Center and met a recent grad from the OLC Nursing program that I tried to give a brief pep talk to about NCLEX.  You never know when you will need to bust out a pep talk!

After Red Cloud, it was on to the OLC Nursing Department for a visit with Michelle.  Since I last visited, the program has received accreditation for the first time in their history.  With only four faculty members (one of which serves as acting director of the program), I can only imagine the long hours and hard work put into this achievement.  We compared notes about how COVID-19 has impacted the program and their experiences, and it sounds like they have had to adjust to the Zoom way of doing things for lecture as well.  They will be in-person this Fall though.  The most exciting part of this visit was seeing the new simulation manikins in their sim center.  They have two new manikins—an elderly patient and an infant.  The manikins are made by Lifecast, a company that has done manikins for some Star Wars movies.  These manikins were SO life-like compared to the usual; we spent quite a bit of time oohing and aahing over them!  

Our last event of the day was a tour of the IHS Clinic in Kyle, led by our alum extraordinaire, Suzie.  The students got to see it all, meet other providers, get words of wisdom about nursing, and hear all about nursing in this very unique setting.  Suzie is so obviously a leader, with clear dedication to patients and outstanding nursing skills—very proud to see her thriving and making a difference. 

Driving home tomorrow—straight through this time.  Ready to go home but not ready?  How is it that time passes so quickly here? 

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