Welcome Back to National

I hope everyone has been enjoying the beautiful weather of May! So much has happened since I last blogged, and I'm excited to share all my memories!

Once you reach clinic internship, we no longer have a break between trimesters, so I stayed here in Chicago continuing to see patients at the Salvation Army Clinic. I started working 5 days per week, rather than 3, and I no longer have classes at NUHS. I've been spending more time in my Chicago apartment and trying to explore the beautiful sights and sounds of Lincoln Park.

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I spent a few days away from the Midwest and traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, to visit one of my friends from college, Jenny. While down there, I was able to visit our St. Petersburg campus where our DC program is, and I visited with our previous Student Council VP from Florida, Frank! The sun was shining, the dolphins were out and about, and the summer vibes were flowing. To those of you who are deterred by the Chicago weather, definitely check out our St. Pete campus! :)

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My little sister graduated from Ohio University in early May, so I loved having the opportunity to travel home to my family and celebrate this huge accomplishment.

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In the clinic, my schedule has been picking up with both new and returning patients, and I'm learning more and more every day. I have the opportunity to see many female patients, all suffering from back pain of some type, but also troubled by more hormonal and biochemical imbalances. It's a great chance for me to apply my ongoing training in the online functional medicine program at University of Western States. Every day is a new learning opportunity! 

I look forward to sharing all of my clinic experiences with you over the next 8 months! 

Can't Stop Learning

In this week's blog, I wanted to share with everyone a very exciting addition to my educational journey. I have officially begun my Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine at University of Western States in Portland, Oregon!

So you might be thinking: "Okay Erin, you're living in Illinois, so how are you beginning a program in Oregon?" Well, this degree is actually entirely online! University of Western States (UWS) has long been a university with very similar academic standards and goals as National. The two universities recently announced a partnership allowing DC graduates from UWS to enroll at National and complete their ND degree in 4 trimesters, just like many of our students do here in Illinois.

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Functional Medicine Tree

As I sat down this week to begin my first online courses, I thought to myself, "Geez, I just can't stop learning!" Over the past few years in the chiropractic program, I've grown to realize that health care is a lifelong commitment. If I wanted to have a career that was boring and unchanging, medicine was definitely not the right profession to go into! However, my passion for helping others has led me here to this point, and I feel like I can't get enough of this exciting thing called knowledge. I am entering a profession where science, research, and technology are ever changing and growing, and it is my responsibility as a future physician to give my patients the most comprehensive, efficient care that I can. I am confident that by pursuing my Master's in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, I will have the tools I need to help as many people as I can.

In the chiropractic program here at National, we receive a tremendous foundation in nutritional biochemistry, dietary guidelines, and how to apply nutrition clinically in practice. Functional medicine is the concept that a person is viewed as an individual, while identifying their unique biochemical needs to optimally support all the physiologic processes of the human body. It's exciting to tie this into chiropractic, because for so long, we have been the physicians that address all components of a patient's health, rather than just identifying a drug to suppress their symptoms. We are the physicians who are best suited to address nutritional needs and functional processes of an individual, and that is why I am excited to learn so much more about this radical way of practicing medicine. It's time that we approach our patients as people, rather than manifestations of symptoms and disease. I look forward to sharing more with you as my program continues! :)

This will be my last post for the month of April. Over the next few weeks, I will be taking my last finals, starting full-time as an intern at the clinic, and getting my boards scores back. I hope everyone has a beautiful spring, and it won't be long until we're back in full swing at NUHS! As always, please contact me at erinemley@student.nuhs.edu with any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you!"

Moving On Up

This past Friday was a tough day for all of us at the Salvation Army Clinic. We celebrated the last day for our 10th trimester interns, Jena and Andy, before they graduate in a couple weeks.

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This was the final time that all of our interns would be together again, so we wanted to make the most of our shift! We all contributed to a delicious potluck, Jena and Andy "passed on" their treatment rooms to us 8th tri interns, and we had a whole morning of endless laughs. Congratulations to all of the 10th tri students who will be out in the field in less than one month!

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As 8th trimester comes to an end over the next couple weeks, it's hard to believe this journey has flown by so quickly! I spent the Easter weekend in Ohio, visiting my boyfriend's family and enjoying a relaxing weekend at home. There's something to home cooked meals, card games, and playing bocce ball in the yard that truly makes me appreciate the slower pace of the real world. In chiropractic school, we commit ourselves to a rigorous program of classes, exams, weekend seminars, and hours in the library, so it's nice to be reminded of what life is like after professional school. It gives me the opportunity to daydream about how my life will be 8 months from now. :) Oh, how I'm looking forward to life after school!

As always, I hope everyone has a terrific week ahead, and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine as we grow closer to summertime in the Midwest!

A Week of Firsts

Just as the hype of boards has died down, I've been keeping myself plenty busy with activities at school!

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This week at NUHS, we hosted our first Trivia Night for students, faculty and staff. Our very own Dr. Robert Shiel organized the entire event, being the trivia master that he is! Categories consisted of The Simpsons, Geography, U.S. History, Classic Movies, Art and Literature, Sports, Music, and Current Events since 2015. I was a member of the team "The Fighting Oxymorons," and we ended up earning 2nd place in the tournament! We hope to keep the tradition going annually!

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Another first held this week was the Motion Palpation Institute's (MPI) first Sports Summit, held here in Illinois. Motion Palpation, or "Mo Pal" as we call it at school, is a national organization that teaches chiropractic students and physicians to analyze the spine by palpating for certain segmental restrictions and them adjusting patients to increase motion in those segments.

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MPI is run by some of the country's best chiropractic physicians, and this weekend they all came together to present on various methods for treating athletes. We covered topics such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, McKenzie Method, myofascial taping techniques, Functional Movement Systems of assessment, and a variety of soft tissue mobilization methods. All of these tools are widely utilized for assessing pain and dysfunction in athletes, and then finding ways to improve the areas of dysfunction and prevent further injury. Some of the greatest leaders each presented on their topics of expertise, and we as students had the chance to pick their brains and learn from all their clinical experience. We also had the opportunity to meet students from other chiropractic schools such as Palmer, Logan and NYCC.

It was a fun-filled weekend of listening and learning from some of the greatest minds in our profession, and it's always a great opportunity to add new experiences to our "doctor's toolbox" when treating future patients!

What Day Is It?

For about five weeks now, every waking moment seems to have been devoted to studying. Study for midterms, study for quizzes, study those people as they walk by my window in the coffee shop (okay, maybe more like people-watch than study). Last but not least, I have been studying for the anticipated NBCE board exams.

Okay, as if I haven't said that enough over my last few blogs. You knew the boards were coming up. I KNEW the boards were coming up. So here I am on a Sunday evening, staring at my computer screen, and asking myself, "What day is it again?" I knew that would sound redundant the moment I typed it. Honestly though, I'm beginning to question the date displayed on my computer, on my phone screen, even in my meticulous planner. It's March 22 and I'm still alive? This is too good to be true!

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Boards Celebrations!

Lately, I've felt as if I'm in a trance. When my alarm went off at 5:15 every morning this weekend, I was tempted to hit snooze and roll over. Who wants to be awake that early on a Saturday morning? It turns out that by 6:30, I wasn't even the earliest student there studying for our boards. I thought I was an over-achiever!

Boards are just these dreaded rites of passage that we must all endure when pursuing a professional degree. The ND students were fortunate enough to have their board exams earlier this trimester, and this weekend was finally our turn.

It's such an accomplishment to have gathered all this information throughout our studies, and then to be diligent and reiterate it all in the form of standardized tests. By Sunday afternoon, my hands were cramped from filling in so many Scantron bubbles!

Fortunately, Parts 2 and 3 are the final written examinations for our license, and Part 4 will be hands-on, practical style. Now all I can do is sit and anxiously wait for May 4th when the exam scores are released to us. Until then, I guess the best option is to celebrate the completion of the tests and just keep learning something new every day! :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and thanks for all your support throughout my educational journey!