Archive for tag: tri 9

Final Blog as a Chiropractic Student

Early in the week, the eighth, ninth, and tenth trimester interns had a mandatory presentation to attend in Lombard from NCMIC and an NUHS alumnus, Dr. John DeMatte. NCMIC is a malpractice insurance company that specializes in covering the chiropractic profession, and their motto is, "We Take Care of Our Own." The presentation was beyond helpful.

At the beginning of the session, both the insurance representative and Dr. DeMatte opened by asking what questions and concerns we all had about insurance, business, our future practices, and much more. They then tailored the presentation to try to answer as many of those questions for us as they could. For me, I have a list a mile long of questions about what I need to do before I start, so having a chance to listen in a comfortable setting and get those concerns addressed was so valuable. 

Some great topics or suggestions were (and I am just going to list because they covered so much!):

  • When applying for loans, most large banks deny requests from recent graduates due to their strict requirements. Best to go with smaller local banks to apply for new business loans.
  • Benefits of doing in-house billing -- keeps records and doctor/patient relationship more personal.
  • Are discounts for cash payments allowed?  Still a very grey line on whether or not they are OK. Some insurance companies require that they are the lowest price as per their contract. It is best to talk to other doctors in the area and see what is acceptable per the insurance companies in the area.
  • Problems with independent contractor relationships -- some doctors looking to add an independent contractor to their practice look at it as hiring an employee. In reality, a true independent contractor relationship consists of two separate businesses.
  • Importance of looking into demographics in the area where you are looking to open a practice. If you are set on opening in a specific area and you have a specific specialty you want to focus on, make sure that the area makes the income and will come into the office for those services.
  • NCMIC website also has an "ask an expert" link where you can ask questions about insurance, business, laws, or many other things referring the chiropractic profession.
  • What doctors are looking for when they are hiring a new associate -- new techniques that they don't perform in the practice that will bring in new patients and offer more treatment options for current patients. Other big attributes during an interview -- honesty, confidence, and professionalism!

Overall, the entire presentation was super helpful and somewhat stress relieving.  The fact that you are in a room with 50 other soon-to-be graduates all feeling the same way, made me feel like I am right where I need to be in terms of stress level for what's to come post-graduation.

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The Next Step

This marks my final blog as an NUHS student. I will soon walk across a very important stage and start my career as a chiropractic physician. That moment is going to be filled with so much happiness, pride, excitement, fear, and anticipation. And that moment is only a few short weeks away.

I have to say, when I was first approached to write this blog, my first thought was, "No way, that's way out of my comfort zone." But, when you are pushed outside your comfort zone, you grow as a person. This blog has challenged me, let me express my feelings and experiences, and I am so happy I didn't let my fears stop me from doing it. Thank you for letting me share part of my life with you. Thank you to those who read my blog week after week. Thank you for the emails with questions, I loved to get them! And finally, thank you to Marie Olbrysh and Victoria Sweeney for having the faith in me and approaching me with this awesome opportunity. I am so glad I took it.  

This is me signing off. Good luck prospective and current students! If you have further questions, want to hear about life after chiropractic school, or need treatment for any aches and pains, you can email me at drbradleybackhaus@gmail.com or visit me in my practice at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Salvation Army Rotation

In clinic this week, I am on my Salvation Army rotation. All ninth trimester interns do a two-week rotation through either the morning or afternoon Salvation Army clinics, and there is an opportunity for five permanent clinic spots for your ninth and tenth trimester clinical internship. With my new job and crazy work schedule, I had to switch around some of my shifts, and I am doing both morning and afternoon.

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The clinics are drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. National University offers physical exams, chiropractic care, and supplementation to the residents there. As an intern rotating through the clinic, I am in charge of "new man exams." These are full physical exams that include a hernia exam before the residents start work at Salvation Army. If there is extra time after the exam, I am able to give them treatment for any conditions diagnosed or wellness care. 

Acupuncture Elective

This week in my acupuncture elective we covered the urinary bladder and kidney meridians. The urinary bladder channel consists of 67 points and begins at the corner of the eye, goes around the top of the head, down the back and leg, and ends at the outer tip of the little toe. The urinary bladder is a water-energy yang organ. An imbalance in the urinary bladder meridian can cause such psychological symptoms as habitual fear, lack of decision-making capability and a diminished moral character. This meridian is also great for chronic tension and pain, which may be relieved by stimulating the flow of energy along the spinal branches of the bladder meridian.

The paired organ to the urinary bladder is the kidney and is considered a water-energy yin organ. The kidney meridian consists of 27 points and starts at the bottom of the foot, goes up the front of the leg, abdomen, and ends on the front of the chest around the first rib. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys control sexual and reproductive functions and provide the body's prime source of sexual vitality, which they regard as a major indicator of health and immunity. Weak kidney energy is therefore a prime cause of anemia and immune deficiency. The negative psycho-emotional attributes of this channel are fear, loneliness, insecurity, and shock (which attacks the heart first then descends into the kidneys to become fear). A really interesting point, KD 1, which is on the bottom of the foot, is really good for intractable pain often experienced by cancer patients. 

Happy Halloween

It simply is the best time of the year! Between the costumes, decorations, pumpkins, crisp fall air, trick-or-treaters, candy, and the occasional scare--what is there not to love about Halloween? Nothing, that's what I say. On Thursday, I went to the 17th Annual North Halsted Street Halloween Parade. I saw a lot of repeat costumes of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke from the VMAs, Duck Dynasty, and Walter White from Breaking Bad. But my favorite costumes were Pepper from American Horror Story, the twins from The Shining, and Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. All very well done.

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At this point in the trimester, pretty much all the tenth trimester interns are finished up with their patient care numbers for graduation. Therefore, all the patient care has been turned over to us ninth trimester interns, including any new patients that come in. I was lucky enough to get a new patient this week that was a National University of Health Sciences alumnus. As an alumnus of the university, you are given free patient care at any of our clinics, which I think is a pretty nice perk. 

This week in my acupuncture elective we covered the spleen meridian. This meridian runs from the armpit to the foot on both sides of the body with 21 points a practitioner can use. Some common aliments that can be treated using this meridian include: enteritis, musculoskeletal pain, and disorders that increase dampness. Another function of the spleen meridian is to cleanse and 'modify' the blood, and it also houses the body's Yi (wisdom mind).

Any additional free time has been dedicated to studying for Part IV Board Exams, which are the following weekend. I will be taking Part IV in Davenport, Iowa, at Palmer College of Chiropractic. The exam covers X-ray interpretation and diagnosis, chiropractic technique, and case management. The diagnostic imaging section covers cases that are commonly seen in practice and cases that should raise red flags. The chiropractic technique section covers cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic, and extremity manipulations. The case management portion covers orthopedic tests, neurologic exam, case history taking, and physical examination. Currently, every state requires Part IV boards to practice except Illinois.

Tri 9 Half Way Point

It's hard to believe that the trimester is more than half over already. Once you are in the last phase of this program, the time really flies. All your professors keep telling you that you need to be prepared for graduation early because even though you don't have class work to do you are still very busy. Busy with boards, busy with electives, busy with numbers, busy with things outside of school, and busy with planning what you will be doing post-graduation.

The patient load at clinic has been steady to busy most days. This is great for all of us interns because we are getting more experience and a good variety of patients. Also, there are little to no worries about finishing our numbers for graduation on time, which is a big relief. Being in a group setting with multiple interns and a clinician to bounce treatments off and get second opinions is great. It also has shown to be beneficial in that everyone has a particular treatment or therapy they are very proficient at. So we are all able to teach and help each other out when it comes to treatment plans and patient care. This makes for a very pleasant working environment at the NUHS Chicago clinic.

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Treatment Room at the NUHS Whole Health Center

The past few weeks in my acupuncture elective course we have learned the lung, large intestine, and part of the bladder meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a meridian is the belief about a path through which the life-energy "qi" flows. Through needling these points, you are able to either tonify or sedate the balance of qi in the meridian.  The lung meridian can be used for conditions such as cough, chest or shoulder pain, asthma, shortness of breath, palpitations, fever, and many more. The large intestine meridian is useful for symptoms such as bloating, swelling, constipation, emotional stopping-up, headaches, stuffy nose, or musculoskeletal pain. Finally, we learned a point on the bladder channel called BL 13, which is useful for colds, fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms.

The rest of my downtime has been dedicated to preparation for Part IV board exams, which are the second weekend in November. With Part I, II, III, and Physiotherapy now behind me, I am feeling much more confidant going into Part IV. Part IV exams focus mainly on skills learned throughout our chiropractic education including: radiology, physical exam, patient intake, and chiropractic manipulation. More details to come post-exams.

Journal Club, Halloween Preparation, and the Chicago Marathon

Journal Club

At the beginning of the clinic week, I presented my Journal Club article. The point of the Journal Club is to have the interns bring articles on treatment options for patients and discuss whether or not we would use them with our patients. 

My article was on the use of acupuncture for patients with migraine headaches. The conclusion of the article was that acupuncture does show a decrease in the number of days with a migraine, and a decrease in the patient's quality of life. After I finished with my presentation, we were all able to discuss our opinions. We also talked about what other treatment options we would use with a patient experiencing migraine headaches. My current treatment plan for patients with migraines, which can be changed per patient, includes acupuncture, chiropractic manipulative therapy, post-isometric relaxation of the sub-occipital muscles, and supplementation of magnesium, riboflavin, and CoQ10.

Halloween

Throughout the rest of the week, I finished my decorating for Halloween, which is quite extensive. If you haven't noticed yet, it's my very favorite time of the year. This included any final touches, putting up the remainder of the decorations, more spider webbing, and hanging my newest decoration. Every year the day after Halloween, I check out the sales on decorations, and I buy one big decoration to add to my collection. The decoration I added last year was a five-foot tall hanging ghoul that I placed on my balcony. It looks great out there, and I can't wait for people to see it next weekend!

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My newest Halloween decoration

Chicago Marathon

On Sunday, Dr. Miller, several ninth and tenth trimester interns, and I volunteered at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It was the perfect fall day for the race with temperatures in the mid-60s, which was ideal for the runners. Marathon Day in Chicago is always a fun day because so many people come out to watch, support, and cheer on the runners. Talking with some of the experienced marathoners after the race, they said it's almost impossible to get tired during the Chicago Marathon due to the amazing crowds that come out to cheer them along.

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Jeff Jones, Candace Gesicki, and me at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday

We were in the Chicago Diabetes Project tent where we were available for post-race care for the runners. The majority of the runners were in a lot of pain and had very tight muscles, so we helped by stretching and massaging as needed. I have volunteered at the marathon before, but I haven't had as much one-on-one post-race care. It was crazy to see how much pain some people were in, while others looked like they could run the marathon again. I'm sure that has a lot to do with training and experience with running. Overall, it was a great experience, and as always it is so inspiring watching people finish something as impressive as a marathon!