Hobby and Hard Work

2014-09-17_garth2If there's anything I've realized about myself over the past year of my life, it's that I love live music! To those of you who keep up with my blog, you may have noticed a trend of country concert followed by country concert. To me, the combination of soothing guitar solos, compassionate lyrics, and a positive atmosphere of fans is a recipe for the perfect evening.

I packed my first couple weeks back with shows by Carrie Underwood, Craig Campbell, and the highly anticipated Garth Brooks 2014 world tour. Whew! Nothing could have prepared me for the energy and emotion that accompanied Garth's show up in Rosemont, Illinois, this past weekend, and the memories I made were absolutely irreplaceable.

2014-09-17_erinI'm thankful that I have found such a rewarding hobby for all of the hard work I spend involved in the DC program. With any luck, I'll find time for an opera or philharmonic concert this fall concert season, and I can then continue to expand my appreciation for music of all genres.

This trimester is looking to be an exciting, yet intimidating, series of classes and assignments! Last week, we encountered our first "simulation patient" in Tri 7's Advanced Diagnosis class. These actors and actresses are such a tremendous experience for us to interact with patients of various disease states, both physically and mentally, and react appropriately to the challenging cases we will encounter in practice. 

I look forward to perfecting my technique when it comes to history taking, the physical exam, diagnostic skills, and most importantly, building a relationship with the patient. No amount of knowledge can replace the necessity for a kind, understanding, and compassionate doctor, especially in today's age of "Doctor Google," when the most crucial component of a doctor-patient relationship is trust. Gaining these skills is my top priority both in this class, as well as over the next year before I am practicing on my own. I can't wait to take advantage of every opportunity to learn this tri!

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Until next week, take care!

Year 3 Begins

Photo of Chip Esten singing at concertHappy Fall, everyone!

Welcome back to the beginning of a new trimester at National. Since I last blogged, I have been traveling non-stop to see friends and family, so I wanted to write about my experiences away from NUHS. By the time finals week had concluded, I was in much need of a mental break!

I spent my first few days of vacation still here in Chicago, seeing various country artists such as Miranda Lambert and Chip Esten (Deacon on ABC's hit series Nashville), as well as working at fun events such as the Arlington Million up at the Arlington Heights Race Track.

I eagerly traveled to northeast Ohio to spend time with my family, including my little sister, before she went back to Ohio University for her last fall semester of classes. I spent some time shadowing and visiting with my older brother and his wife at their very successful chiropractic practice, which always serves as a friendly reminder of WHY I am going through this challenging program!

photo of boyfriend hiking through woods Photo of Erin ready to zipline

One of the best parts of my break was traveling to the scenic Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio with my boyfriend Taylor. He and I spent a long weekend hiking, exploring the caves and trails, zip lining through the forests, and canoeing down the Hocking River. You may never have been to Ohio or explored its state parks, but Hocking Hills is an absolutely beautiful experience for people and families of all ages. Being able to see the stars at night isn't so bad either, since I spend most of my year staring up at streetlights. It was a perfect trip full of new landscapes, new experiences, and plenty of relaxation.

Photo of Erin and boyfriend in zipline gear

While passing through Columbus, Ohio, I shadowed two National graduates currently practicing in the central Ohio area: Dr. Jennifer Wente-Moeller and Dr. James Schramm.

Let me tell you that observing doctors first-hand is the absolute BEST experience you can gain as a student. Shadowing a doctor teaches you things that the classroom sometimes cannot, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have met with two unique and inspiring doctors!

I'm looking forward to a very busy, yet exciting trimester. It's hard to believe I am beginning my 3rd year in the chiropractic program and enrolled in Tri 7 classes! Wow, time flies when you're in chiropractic school! As I say to some of the younger students beginning the program, I worked incredibly hard to get where I am now, but looking back, I wouldn't trade it for anything. :)

As always, please feel free to contact me at erinemley@student.nuhs.edu with any questions about my blog or my experiences here in the DC program at National!

Goodbye Tri 6

As the summer trimester rolls to an end, I've decided to reflect on the past 14 weeks to evaluate everything I've learned and the experiences I've had.

Trimester 6

Trimester 6 is a big deal, because it signifies the completion of your second year in the chiropractic program. I've walked away with the knowledge of performing a full physical exam on a patient, evaluating different types of lab work, and learning how to collect samples of my own for lab work. I learned about the protocol of performing blood, urine, and strep tests, as well as male and female sensitive exams. The jitters of "stab lab" eventually subsided and I began to appreciate the privilege that we have in our scope of practice to be able to perform phlebotomy. Holy moly, I punctured someone's skin and actually drew blood!

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Radiology

Between the three radiology courses I've taken, I've learned to identify and differentiate all the various types of arthritides that can occur, the various fractures commonly seen in trauma, and the red-flag signs of skeletal tumors and metastasis. We have been educated to not only perform orthopedic tests to determine what muscle or ligament is causing symptoms, but also how to identify these pathologies on imaging such as X-rays, CT and MR imaging.

Pharmacology

Our pharmacology courses have given me the skills I need to converse with other medical professionals about various drugs and medications, in addition to educating patients about the potential side effects of the pharmaceuticals.

Marketing

I learned first-hand how difficult is to develop a unique business plan, analyze the population demographics in a target area, and excel in marketing your brand and your practice to those people seeking health care.

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The Bottom Line

Of the many things I have learned from my second year here in chiropractic school, the most important take away is this: WE have the opportunity to TRULY change peoples' lives through the power of chiropractic care. We listen to our patients, we relate to our patients, we have the power of physical touch and interaction with our patients. We are going to impact the health and lives of so many human beings, and THAT hope in itself is worth waking up for each day. Despite the endless assignments, group projects, quizzes, practicals, and written examinations, I know in my heart this is where I belong: earning my Doctor of Chiropractic degree at National University of Health Sciences.

I truly hope you have enjoyed reading my weekly blogs and that I've helped influence your life in some way. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have! Until September, take care everyone! :)

Relived of Duties

Lambda Chi Sorority is a social and educational club at NUHS designed for female students in both the chiropractic and naturopathic programs. Once a week, we meet after class to learn and practice adjustments with Dr. Terry Elder, one of the professors of our technique classes and a national instructor for Motion Palpation Institute. Toward the end of the trimester, the club brings in various speakers from the community and university, educating us on different topics such as sports medicine, pediatric adjusting, opening up your own practice, or even just the current state of the chiropractic profession. For the past year, I have been the president of Lambda Chi and have had an array of responsibilities each trimester. I have finally reached the bittersweet end of a very rewarding leadership position, but I am excited to pass on my duties to the next group of officers!

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The current group of officers finished off our term with a big bang of events! We started out our week by hosting Dr. Joseph Stiefel, the president of National University of Health Sciences, as our speaker. He brought our members up to speed on the state of the university, current renovations taking place on our campus, an assessment of our school's performance of board scores, and an overview of the direction that the chiropractic profession is moving. On Wednesday night, the outgoing and incoming sorority officers met at Kona Grill for our officer transition dinner, where we passed on our binders of instructions, gave suggestions and words of advice, and enjoyed a nice meal together.

Our 3rd Annual Mr. NUHS Competition was held on Thursday in the gymnasium. The event showcased eight terrific male students who competed in categories of clinic attire, beach attire, and a talent/lip sync performance. Our four judges consisted of both faculty/staff members and last year's reigning Mr. NUHS, Taronte. Based on the judges' scores and the popular vote of audience participation, we crowned Tom Blum as the 2014-2015 Mr. NUHS! Tom performed a terrific rendition of "Let It Go" from the hit Disney movie Frozen, and the gymnasium was filled with laughter and confetti as the song went on. This event served as both a fun school-wide function open to all students as well as a great fund raiser for Lambda Chi.

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Beach Attire Category

Friday night was an opportunity for all of our members to relax and unwind at our end-of-the-trimester event held at Brickhouse Tavern and Tap. The girls enjoyed appetizers, drinks, and a chance to sit back and socialize with each other. This was also the last big event held by the current club officers, so it served as an unofficial transition back to being simply a member of the club, rather than a leader. I am excited to say that I'm finally relieved of my duties as president of Lambda Chi Sorority!

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Mr. NUHS - Tom Blum

I hope everyone has a great end to July! Enjoy what's left of summer! :)

Marketing the Chiropractic Practice

We are entrepreneurs. We are go-getters. We are representatives for the field of alternative health care. We are chiropractors!

A very critical aspect of the chiropractic profession is our community presence as both a health care provider and a business owner. We believe in a natural, more holistic approach to health care, and therefore, we do not fit into the traditional western medical model. I often describe our situation as "not having a plug-in" to an established health care system, and this requires chiropractors to wear both hats: the business hat and the doctor hat. We have such a unique situation with endless potential to grow our practices and create financial well-being, but it also comes with great commitment.

In our chiropractic program here at National, significant emphasis is placed on business and marketing training. I am in a course now where we created our own hypothetical business, designed a marketing theme, and developed a calendar of both internal and external marketing strategies to promote our practice.

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We titled our business "Women's Oceanside Wellness," placed in Oceanside, California, specializing in female and pediatric health care. This project required a demographic analysis of the area, various marketing tactics to reach our target population, and a handful of graphic designs to create a professional image for our practice. Our 45-minute group presentation required quite a bit of brainstorming and preparation, but we were so excited to present our hard work to the class, and our professor was pleased with our marketing presentation! This was perfect practice for opening up and marketing our own businesses some day! (View our business brochure.)

Unwinding on the Weekend

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After a long week of quizzes and presentations, I celebrated the weekend by attending Billy Joel's concert at Wrigley Field on Friday night. I have my older brother, Jed, to thank for my love for the legendary Piano Man. Isn't it bizarre to think about how much music has changed over the past 50 years?! Billy Joel is such a talented, inspirational musician, and I have no doubt his music will last throughout the years.

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On Saturday morning, I traveled to Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio to attend both a baby shower and wedding for two of my close friends from Ohio State. I loved the opportunity to connect with some of my sorority sisters and friends from college, and it's so exciting to see everyone progressing with their lives!

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Another busy week at NUHS has concluded, and I am eagerly preparing for finals! The end of the tri is near! :)