Archive for tag: faculty

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Well, that's what Billie Holiday thought. Here in good 'ol' Florida, it's HOT (and also very busy). This is the boys' last week of school; clinic is in full-swing; classes are well underway; and the schedule is getting crazy. I'm 3 weeks away from finals for the Master's program. Schedule changes are tough. I'm still getting used to being in clinic and splitting my time between classes and working.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Mine was SUPER low key. After Acupuncture on Saturday, I spent time with friends in Tampa, and Sunday and Monday were focused on reading, research, and recovery (the new 3 R's). The Master's has me working on all kinds of stuff. I'm most fascinated, right now, with articles on lifestyle factors and inflammation. Dr. Seaman's classes really focused on some basics of inflammatory cytokines and the biochemistry of the food we eat and what it does to our body. Now I'm at a whole different level of learning with this, and it's REALLY cool. I'm discovering how the same set of cytokines, combined with other hormones use the foods we eat to make things even more complicated. How we think and feel about what's going on in our lives can lead to chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and chronic disease. I'm so glad that I've chosen to study this for the rest of my life.

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Image Source: http://blogs.trb.com/news/opinion/chanlowe/blog/

Right now we have several classes on how we, as physicians, should interact with patients. Whether it's doctor-patient relationships, jurisprudence, or clinical natural medicine -- we're discussing everything from what we're responsible for ethically, to how patients (or potential employers) might perceive us. The latter topic has created a bit of a rift in my life. We were counseled to be careful how much of our personal life we allow the public to see -- specifically, our patients. Do we give patients our phone numbers? Do we friend them on Facebook? Do we give advice out in public? Do we share pictures of ourselves online? The idea behind it incites a lot of fear -- that we'll have stalkers, or share too much that can be used against us, or somehow lose patients because of things we do, say or show.

I don't like this at all. As alternative practitioners, I think we have a little bit more lee-way than others might. Some of us are into some unique areas of study. We are more touchy-feely, and that lends itself to a different type of interaction. They say that we're less likely to get sued because we tend to be more interactive with our patients. So, except for the stalkers, why would we want to withhold that information from those people in our lives every day? I guess it's something that we all have to think about. What do YOU think?

Have a great week everybody. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

The Student Physician

Nearly two and a half years, countless exams, memorization of facts and figures, pathologies, prescription drugs, and maneuvers that scare you to death -- and you think you might actually know "something" (but not everything). And then the first patient walks through the door and you realize nothing you could've possibly done thus far could have prepared you for what you're about to experience. Welcome to being a student physician.

Throughout my various collegiate undertakings, I've felt ignorant. There was never much of a point to thinking I knew everything or even all that much because I was constantly reminded that whatever bits and pieces I've pulled together meant only a drop in the bucket toward what's out there. I hate feeling ignorant. Maybe that's why I'm constantly reading and researching -- because I know that I don't know anything.

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Ricky in Radiology Positioning class
(Special thanks to Dave Aiello and Ricky King for this picture.)

Dr. Harrison, our clinician, brought up an excellent point last week (he has LOTS of amazing pearls of wisdom). He said that the stuff that we learn the best is the stuff that we're faced with. If there's a condition that we, a family member or friend, or a patient has, we WANT to learn about it. And so we learn those things the best. But when something is sitting right in front of you, there's this overwhelming need to know it -- right now. Sometimes that learning curve can be pretty frustrating.

Questions get asked. Tell me about your family. How are you feeling? What's going on in your life right now? Can you describe this or that sensation? As the physician, you're supposed to know, not only what it is they're talking about, but also how to put all of it together to make sense of what is in front of you. It's a complex task. Then you have to take the person in front of you, and figure out how to make them better, take away the pain they're having, help them cope with what's going on in their life, and help them re-enter their space of wellness. And of course, you hope that they're working with you on this. This takes skills they don't teach in school. We can take all of the interviewing skills sessions, basic and clinical sciences, and psychology classes and still not be able to put all of these "issues" into the complex Being that sits in front of us. So, as I sit here wearing my white coat, I can honestly tell you that nothing I've done over the last two and a half years prepared me for my first patient. Not a thing. Not even remotely. Of all the things I've learned, even over my whole life, listening seems to be the most beneficial.

One of my biggest fears when starting clinic, besides being worried I wouldn't know what to do, is that I would be stuck with pure musculoskeletal cases. I know, this is chiropractic and musculoskeletal would theoretically be a big part of most chiro's practice, but I wanted the hard cases. And I'm getting them. From complex vascular issues to hormone imbalances, I've had to do research in the first week on topics that we didn't learn in any of our classes. Before any physical exams, before any orthopedic testing, just doing the history, I'm learning so much. I love learning this way. Get a topic, find out as much as you can, and then apply it.

Pick up a copy of Harrison's Internal Medicine, and also a copy of the Textbook of Natural Medicine, and Textbook of Functional Medicine. All three of these will serve you very well. Even though these three are great resources, there are some things that still require digging. I love a challenge. Good thing I'm in the right field.

Have a great week everybody!

Hey, Everybody! Welcome Back!

Two weeks of break isn't anywhere near long enough. It seems like just about the time that I get into a new groove of being out of school, things start up again. But, this time -- it's different. I'm an INTERN!

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My intern badge

Last week was the first week in Student Clinic. We went through procedures and charting info and a bunch of other things. I think it's going to be AMAZING! Dr. Harrison (our clinician) has taken the time to explain so many things to us already. It's a whole different world, now. I don't know what I thought it was going to be like, but it's different. And I think it's going to be great. I started out this week as a secondary, and I see my first patient on Wednesday.

Break was wonderful. I was able to take some time off, do some volunteering, and work on some projects. I feel "lighter" -- having been able to accomplish some things that I hadn't had time for thus far. That having been said, I'm still behind. That's not tremendously surprising. I'm making lists and slowly getting things done.

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Sunrise over Tampa Bay

The Master's has been ongoing. My classes right now are in Botanical Medicine and Immunology. I've learned so many fascinating things. Last week I got stuck in researching zonulin and tight junctions. I've been trying to pool together all of the locations that contain tight junctions in the body, so I might be able to link proteins and chemicals that disrupt the tight junctions with disorders that occur at those locations. I have to stop myself sometimes, from going too far down the rabbit hole with some of my research -- because I'll get so engrossed that I forget about everything else. Sometimes I have to stop myself at the point of too many questions. It turns out that some of the ones that I came up with last week (according to my professor) don't currently have answers. I guess I'm not the only one with questions.

I'm looking forward to the Tri mixer -- whenever that will be -- and Wednesday with my first patient. I'm secondary on patients before then, so that will be interesting as well. Mostly, I just want to say how excited I am to be here.

Welcome back, everyone! I'm glad you're here.

Thanksgiving Week

I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! A few of my classmates are heading out of town, up North, over the river and through the woods, but most of us are staying somewhat local. Those that are going up North are getting ready to be bundled up. I understand there are record lows -- especially up in the Northeast. We're actually expecting a brisk temperature of 66ºF on Thanksgiving. Everyone will have their parkas and snowboots on.

Turkey Bowl

Friday night was Turkey Bowl. If you've never heard of the infamous NUHS Turkey Bowl, here's where you'll become indoctrinated in this time-honored tradition. Students, alumni, faculty members, and significant others launch themselves onto the football field to non-violently duke it out to compete for (starting this year) the Stiefel Cup [named for the president of NUHS and former dean of the College of Professional Studies - Florida].

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This year, the victors were from Tri 1 and Tri 6 (including our own Antoinette Stewart and Lauren Domanski) and our MVPs were Dr. Chris Arick and Danielle Spratt. It's my understanding that no severe injuries were met and no one went to the hospital -- so it was a good game.  

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We had a HUGE turnout of people! A lot of the faculty came out -- including some professors that I haven't seen in a really long time. I saw new students that I'd never seen before. I met spouses and kids that I didn't know existed. It was just a really great "family" environment. There was really amazing food provided and the people that weren't playing just hung out. It was really cool and made me wish that I'd gone last year. The funniest thing was to see our professors and Assistant Dean (Dr. Daniel Strauss) don shorts and T-shirts and blend in with all of the "kids." We really couldn't tell the difference between them.

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Impending Finals

So, this is the last week before finals start. Next week is practical week and the following week has all the written exams. I'm not looking forward to either -- but I'll be really glad to move on. I've already taken the Marketing final, the final practical for Rehab, and the Phlebotomy written final is this week. I'm checking off boxes and crossing things off my list (and trying not to go crazy).

Well, that's it from me. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday -- that you have just as much dinner as you want, just enough family dysfunction to seem OK, and just enough tryptophan to have a really good nap. And of course, in true medical student style -- dissect the turkey -- don't carve it.

On to Phase 2

Did everybody have a good break? Did you even get a break? Finals are over! We all survived (endured, even). From what I can tell, everybody did really well. Mostly, I think we're glad that we've made it through all the basic sciences and are now in clinical sciences. WHOOOHOOO!!!!! I can't believe we're finally in Phase 2! 

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Treasure Island drum circle

All of our class scattered to the wind--Europe, New Jersey, all over the globe! I had an especially busy break. I spent the first week looking for a new place to live, and then the second week in Illinois. I drove to see my folks (and extended family) in Central Illinois. The trip was AMAZING! I've forgotten how much I miss the Midwest (did I just say that out loud?), and how much I miss my family.

I grew up out in the country, amidst farmland and such. I literally spent 2+ days up to my waist in dirt. It was pure heaven. I planted perennials in one of their flowerbeds that will hopefully take over and be low maintenance (and fodder for my mom to watch from the kitchen window). It's got me all psyched to do some gardening of my own (in between studying, of course). 

The first week of school was both a trial and a triumph. I received the go-ahead to move into my new place on Monday, so I started moving boxes and such into the garage. They are still fixing random stuff in the house. At 2am Sunday morning, I finished moving the last of the stuff out. Special thanks to my classmates and friends, Jacqlyn, Julia, and Alid for all of their help. Julia, Alid, Grey (my son), and myself moved ALL of the heavy furniture in less than 3 hours! They were, as Dr. S puts it, "machines!" I couldn't have done any of this without you guys--all my love and undying gratitude. I mean it! 

So, other than unpacking and getting things sorted, I'm back to school. The class schedule looks like it's doable, but it's gonna be a toughie! Two classes with Dr. S (although one is early in the morning when I'm not yet awake--I wonder if he's noticed), several other interesting ones, and my favorite: Botanical Medicine (Yes, I'm being serious). I've taken Bot Med under different headings/schools before, and I practice a little home chemistry in making my own medicine. I have for several years. In my not-so-humble opinion, you can never know too much about medicinal plants! I've already obligated myself to showing how to make hydrosols, which are like essential oils but can be made at home and not quite as strong. Now if I could just find that book. Where did I pack that thing?

I'm looking forward to an exciting tri--morning classes and all. 

Photo of Treasure Island beach
Treasure Island beach

Incidentally, it's hotter than Hades' vacation spot down here in the old FL. Summer has definitely arrived. Stay cool and hydrated, kiddies. If anybody has any garden requests for me, let me know. I'll be putting seeds/plants in as soon as I can.

Welcome back! (I know I'm glad to be here!)