A Typical Day at Salvation Army

Oftentimes in my early trimesters, I would wonder what a day in clinic would look like. From the beginning, students dream of that white pressed coat and intern nametag, dreaming of how exciting it will be to finally work with real patients (aside from our fellow classmates!). How much work would be involved with the paperwork? How much freedom would our clinicians give us? What really cool cases would we see?

Here is an example of a typical day at the Salvation Army Clinic:

Our hours begin at 7:00 a.m. in the busy River West area of downtown, right near the intersection of Halsted Street and Grand Avenue. Since many of us arrive by 6:45, we spend some time scouting for street parking and often walk 5-10 minutes to the building. After four flights of stairs, we've reached the clinic.

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Photo taken of the city while I was exploring this weekend!

Dr. Erin Quinlan begins each Monday by giving us an overview of the week. We review who is on the mandatory "new-man" exam each morning and make sure we have the appropriate paperwork put together. Patients who come up to the clinic for their "new-man" exam are people who have recently entered Salvation Army's work therapy program, so it is our job to give them a full physical and take an extensive history to determine if they are well enough to participate in the program.

Most of our interns see patients independently by 9th trimester. We have gotten into the routine of making our own schedules with patients, completing thorough SOAP notes about each visit, and oftentimes preparing one week's worth of supplements for the workers to take with them. Within the intern room, we can share patient cases and consult each other for treatment ideas. Overall, we spend most of our time working, but we still find opportunities for laughter and fun.

By about 1:00 p.m., all of our patients have gone to eat lunch and the clinic is calm again. We tidy up our belongings, make sure our routing slips have been sent down for upcoming appointments that week, and we give our tally sheets one last review for all of the names of patients we had seen that day. We keep very busy in the 6 hours that we are at the clinic, but it makes for a much more relaxing rest of the day.

If you have any questions about my experiences at the Salvation Army Clinic, I look forward to hearing from you at erinemley@student.nuhs.edu!

Day-to-Day at the Salvation Army Clinic

One of the biggest changes that comes with your chiropractic internship in trimesters 9 and 10 is this dramatic increase in free time! Instead of being on campus for 40 hours a week, then going home to study and do schoolwork, all of a sudden, your commitments are cut in half!

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My clinic shift begins at 7 a.m. and ends by 1 p.m. Our mornings at Salvation Army are filled with new patients, new learning opportunities, and plenty of laughs. This makes our time spent in clinic even more valuable during the small window of time that we have.

We're always bouncing ideas off of each other and sharing treatment suggestions.

  • Interns Doug and Johnny are really interested in rehab with patients, so I've learned quite a few tricks and tools about active release technique, post-isometric relaxation, and other muscle strengthening and stretching exercises.
  • Interns Tom and Brad are currently enrolled in the DABCI [Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Internists], so I'm able to consult them when patients have complications that can be addressed with more internal medicine.
  • Abby has a strong understanding of Standard Process's line of supplements, so she is always a great intern to consult when looking to use their line of products for various conditions.
  • Kelsey is currently enrolled in a master's program similar to mine, so I can bounce ideas off her when it comes to offering my patients nutritional supplements.

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Overall, we try to share knowledge from our different specialties, so that we can offer the best treatment options for our patients. 

Is It Summer Yet?

I know that discussing the weather is one of the most monotonous topics you can have, but it seems to be quite the topic these days! For the past three weekends in Chicago, the weather has just tanked from the sunny mid-80s to the rainy mid-50s. There's no doubt in my mind that the weather has a tremendous impact on a person's mood and well-being. Despite the dreary, chilly weekend with some very moody weather, I made the best of my time off!

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One of my best friends, Michelle, visited from Ohio last weekend. I love having the opportunity to take friends around the big city and explore all Chicago has to offer! We did our best to sightsee the city from the Navy Pier Ferris wheel, however the fog was a little difficult to see through! We had the chance to spend Saturday afternoon on North Avenue Beach, and the scene was definitely a little more picturesque. :)

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Life in 9th trimester is flying by! I'm finding myself constantly referencing old textbooks and notes, reviewing the best treatments for various musculoskeletal conditions and then applying them to patient care.

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I've also found myself being much more focused on understanding Standard Process products and other various supplement companies. So many of the patients I see have underling nutritional insufficiencies, and even offering them a small dosage multivitamin can provide them with the building blocks for physiological function. As we've learned in school, addiction of any type has such profound effects on the physiology of the brain and the body, and sometimes the best treatments we can offer them are palliative care and supplementation to support overall health. Being in clinic is the perfect opportunity to try new things, figure out what works, and identify what doesn't. I have so much more to learn! :)

Wishing everyone a productive and positive week!

Wanderlust 108

In today's world, the human race has forgotten what it means to be in touch with our inner selves. With our fast-paced jobs, busy family schedules, and packed social lives, when do we find time to reflect on our purpose in life?

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Wanderlust 108 is nationwide "mindful triathlon," bringing people together for a 5K run, outdoor yoga, and meditation session. This past weekend, I attended the Chicago Wanderlust festival with my friend Krissa in the beautiful Morton Grove Forest Preserve. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't exactly on our side that day, turning from a cloudy overcast to a cold morning rain. Talk about getting in touch with nature! Nonetheless, the festival prevailed and the hundreds of attendees enjoyed the morning of mindfulness.

Despite the wind and the rain, we participated in an amazing movement that brought together people from all across the Chicago area. Yoga in the rain brought about so much peacefulness, and I found myself feeling at one with nature. Joining together with hundreds of people, all there with a common purpose, was truly an uplifting experience. The practices of yoga and meditation give us the opportunity to connect not only with our physical bodies, but also our minds.

This week, as a beautiful new month begins, I encourage everyone to take a step back from your busy lives and find your inner Zen. :) Namaste!

A Beautiful Memorial Day

Welcome back everyone, after a long Memorial Day weekend! I had been looking forward to this break for months, as it was the weekend my parents and sister came to Chicago to visit!

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My parents

Both my sister and dad celebrate birthdays in late May, so they wanted to come and spend one last weekend in the big city before I graduate in December and say farewell to the state of Illinois.

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My sister, Dad, and me

Our activities included sightseeing, brunch atop the Hancock Building, listening to live Blues music at the world-famous Kingston Mines, and wrapping up the holiday with a home Cubs game. What's more American than baseball?

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My sister and I at brunch

Actually, one thing that is more symbolic of America is our patriotism. Every year, we commemorate all of the fallen soldiers who have served our country, and far too often do forget that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. As a future chiropractor, I may never serve my country the way that our brave men and women have, but I hope to do my part by serving our veterans.

Through the work of our professional organizations, we are fighting to provide chiropractic care to our veterans within the VA systems across the country. Not only are we working to provide care on base to our active military members, but also within the TRICARE system to retirees, dependents, and survivors of our military men and women. With our collaborative efforts, we hope to someday provide the care and services our soldiers deserve. It is such a simple way to show our gratitude and appreciation for their dedication to our nation.

Now, having had the opportunity to reflect on the loves ones lost for such a noble cause, we can stride forward to provide much-deserved care to our veterans who are still among us.