Archive for tag: faculty

Time is Flying By

I can't believe it's already been a week since I last wrote. Time at the VA is FLYING by. I'll only be there a couple more weeks and then I'm back at the student clinic. Six weeks after that is graduation. I'm having this great realization that graduation is coming up on me like a freight train. Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck down on the tracks, and sometimes I'm the one driving.

I'm working feverishly on finishing the master's work. That's over in about a month. Just in case anyone was thinking about doing this at the same time as getting your DC, be forewarned: it's a TON of work -- especially the last quarter. This is not for the faint-hearted. I honestly can't believe that I've done it. There are times when I definitely feel like a masochist. It took me 6 quarters (a year and a half), but I'm almost done. Now to get all of the papers and projects done; that will be a feat.

While I'm working at the VA, I'm finishing up all the paperwork, volunteering, and other things needed. Last weekend I made a trip to Sarasota to the American Youth Cup Series I. Apparently the park where it was hosted, Nathan Benderson Park, is home to a world class rowing event. In fact, the 2017 rowing championships are being hosted there. It's a unique facility with a round lake. There are a number of events coming up there -- including several additional rowing events, a pentathlon, and a 5k. I'm hoping to attend a few more of them.


It was a quiet day (no injuries); the weather was chilly and windy (for Florida). Dr. Guadagno, Dr. Jake LaVere (a distinguished recent National alumnus), Nick Herrild, and myself braved the chills to be on hand in case anything should happen. When we weren't watching the crew members running around or rowing, we were sharing stories and business information. We had a pretty good time talking about future business endeavors, practice models, conferences, and plans.

Here's a wind-blown picture of the 4 of us.

As I continue my time at the VA, I'm seeing what it's like to be in a completely different model of care. There are things that I've learned that I know I will carry with me into my future practice, and others that I know I won't. One thing I really appreciate, and I touched on this last week, is the willingness to try something new (or discharge from care) if things are or are not working. People come in and they get better -- they stop coming in. People come in and they don't get better -- they stop coming in. It's very simple. It's ethical practice.

Well, I best stop writing here and get to some of my papers!

I hope that everyone here -- regardless of where you are in the world, are staying safe and warm.

I'll see you all next week! Have a great one!!!

Annual Florida Turkey Bowl

The NFL is merely a tribute league for The Turkey Bowl. These, and many other words were uttered by our fearless leader, President Joseph Stiefel, in his Newt Rockne-esque speech leading up to the Turkey Bowl last week. I wasn't sure whether we were going into war or going to the fields.

President Stiefel gives the speech to end all speeches

For those not familiar with the Turkey Bowl, it's National's annual foray into the world of sports, celebrating all that is football, camaraderie, and Thanksgiving. With flags and fanfare, students, significant others, faculty, family, and friends clad in shorts and T-shirts charged onto the gridiron, doing everything that they could to avoid a pile up on the field. The Turkey Bowl is, of course, a flag football event. And might I say, I saw some pretty amazing acrobatics from players trying to avoid tackling. Flips here, somersaults there -- it was quite impressive.

Everybody :)

We had enough players for 4 teams. Forest even played. All players, in fact, were welcomed with open arms. And of course, both guys and girls play, which makes it even more interesting. And the number of people on the sidelines cheering was phenomenal.

There were new rules this year. Some were pretty hilarious. I'll leave names out of it, but one of my esteemed colleagues had a rule named after her -- just to illustrate that tackling is absolutely prohibited. And there's also the rule that if you've been hurt before, you're excused from playing. Granted, all of the injuries at The Turkey Bowl have been pretty minor: bruises, sprains, small bones broken. Everyone is a GREAT sport.

The winning team

Our MVPs were Bryan Nicholas and Dr. Michelle Jourdan. I'll put a plug in for both of them. I don't think I've ever seen Bryan without a smile on his face. He's just an all-around good sport and he plays hard. Dr. Jourdan is one of the most enthusiastic players I've ever seen. The NFL's got nothin' on either of these two.

I'm keeping it short and sweet for this week. Hope everybody had an amazing Thanksgiving!

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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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.

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!

Photo of name badge
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.

Photo of sunrise on beach
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.