URMED Interns Launch Medical Career Exploration at White-Coat Ceremony

BVU's Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education and Development program begins its 12th campaign in service with local hospitals. The program has helped dozens of students prepare for careers as family practice physicians, specialists, nurses, physician assistants, and more.

As a Humboldt High School junior, Brayden Collins visited Buena Vista University and heard for the first time about the University’s Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education and Development program, a three-week immersion into a myriad of rural medicine efforts with experiences at hospitals in and around Storm Lake.

URMED, now in its 12th year, has helped dozens of BVU students prepare for careers as family practice physicians, specialists, nurses, physician assistants, and more. Students work alongside doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other specialists during the January Interim period, gaining first-hand knowledge of the world of rural medicine while earning a $3,000 stipend in the process.

“It’s one of the reasons I came to BVU,” says Collins, a junior from Thor. “And when I heard I was one of the URMED students this year, I was really excited!”

Collins joined Tabitha Guyett, a sophomore from Omaha in donning their white coats for the first time on Monday as their URMED experience began.

“The vast majority of our URMED students go on to medical school, nursing school, or become a specialist in the field.”

Dr. Kristy McClellan

“They’ll shadow doctors, surgeons, specialists, pharmacists, our house supervisors, and more,” says Katie Schwint, a 1998 BVU graduate who serves as executive director of community development at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake. “Our goal is for Brayden and Tabitha to gain a well-rounded experience in rural medicine and, maybe, one day come back here to practice.”

Dr. Kyle Glienke, a 2009 BVU graduate, served as an URMED intern like Guyett and Collins. Dr. Glienke is now a physician practicing family and internal medicine, serving UnityPoint Clinic Buena Vista Clinic in Storm Lake.

“What’s fun for me is seeing the photos of BVU’s past URMED interns outside my office,” says Dr. Kristy McClellan, BVU Associate Professor of Biology and URMED advisor. “The vast majority of our URMED students go on to medical school, nursing school, or become a specialist in the field.”

Two students in a medical internship
Tabitha Guyett and Brayden Collins, Buena Vista University's 2020 URMED Scholars.

Collins and Guyett secured their positions through a competitive application process, according to Dr. Thom Bonagura, Dean of BVU’s School of Science.

Collins, a chemistry major who possesses a 4.0 grade-point average, is a member of the BVU ROTC program and seeks to one day become a doctor serving a rural community while serving his country through the Iowa Army National Guard.

“I’m from a small community in Iowa and I wouldn’t trade my view of the corn fields for anything,” says Collins, a BVU Honors program participant who is working on a research project involving the development of a better rocket fuel. Collins also runs on the cross country team for the Beavers.

Guyett, meantime, began her day with a 6 a.m. practice as a member of the BVU track and field team. By 9 a.m. she was trying on her white coat as the University’s newest URMED participant, eager to learn all she could about patient care, a topic that played a role in her career motivation.

“In her URMED application essay, Tabitha wrote about an experience in Omaha where a medical provider struggled to ask pertinent questions,” Bonagura says. “What struck Tabitha was how important it is to know the person you’re treating.”

“I’m hoping to find a place where I can practice while establishing a relationship with patients,” Guyett says.

Guyett also maintains an interest in the mental-health aspect of treating patients. The biomedical sciences and psychology double-major is also a member of the BVU Honors Program and is currently working on a research project focusing on the behavioral effect Prozac has on mice.

In addition to their work at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake, Guyett and Collins will observe doctors, nurses, and other health-care providers at Stewart Memorial Hospital in Lake City and Humboldt County Memorial Hospital in Humboldt, entities represented by CEOs Rob Colerick, Cindy Carstens, and Michelle Sleiter, respectively, at Monday’s white-coat ceremony.

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