It's a pretty fulfilling experience to get to 8th Trimester, be
an intern in clinic (finally!), and know you've made it through the
majority of the curriculum in the chiropractic program. What they
forget to tell you is how much time you'll be spending outside of
the classroom studying radiology!
Now that I have passed courses evaluating imaging of
arthritides, trauma, congenital deformities, tumors, and chest and
abdominal pathology, they roll it all up into a big ball and say,
"Here! Apply everything you've ever learned and read this black and
white picture to tell me exactly what is wrong with this person."
Here I am thinking, "Wait, you expect me to actually remember 2
years of radiology courses?" The answer is definitely "Yes," and I
am conquering this challenge every day in 8thtrimester!
I am currently enrolled in two very important radiology classes:
Positioning and Report Writing, as we like to call them. In one
course, we spend hours in the X-ray lab, setting up the machines,
calculating the numbers, and developing the films in the dark room.
In the other course, we also spend hours in the X-ray lab,
but instead reading the images in front of us, identifying the
pathologies present, and writing reports that summarize our
findings and possible diagnoses. It's quite a lot of
responsibility, developing the skills to take the X-rays accurately
so that we may see all the pertinent anatomy, and then to identify
the patient's underlying pathologies so that we can take the proper
measurements to resolve or manage their condition.
I will admit, I spend a lot of time with my nose buried in
Yochum [Terry R., a 1972 NUHS grad] and Rowe, the bible of skeletal
radiology textbooks. I'm excited to use my laterality markers (with
my initials on them!) when shooting X-rays, and the Supertech is
the coolest sliding, calculating toy for goofs like me. All of this
studying will pay off soon, especially for Parts 2, 3, and 4 of
National Chiropractic Boards that I will be taking over the course
of 2015! Wish me luck! :)
What week are we in? You mean we only have ONE MONTH until
finals? Ah yes, it's that time of the trimester again, the time
when students begin to realize that the end is nearing and the
studying is only beginning!
It's funny that I say that though. Not only has 7th trimester
been the fastest trimester I can recall (I feel like it's still
September!), but it has also been one of the most hectic trimesters
yet. Fall is always a lively time of year, when the leaves are
changing, football is on TV four of the seven weekdays, and school
is back in full swing for students of all ages. Maybe time has
flown because I've been having so much fun?! In my last blog, I
wrote about all my terrific experiences at Chiro Games in Florida,
and I'm worried I left part of my brain on the beach. :)
Tri 7 has been jam packed with assignments, quizzes, papers, and
best of all, midterms. We just finished Week 10, and I STILL have
exams this upcoming week! I will admit that this program is quite
challenging at times, and it really assesses your ability to manage
time efficiently. It's also our last trimester of full classes, so
the end is near! In 8th trimester, we split our week by
spending three days each week in the clinic working as an intern,
and the remaining two days wrapping up the curriculum aspect of our
As chiropractic students, we are taught about various
physiotherapeutic (PT) modalities that can be used when treating
patients. Things are always changing with the insurance companies,
especially with the new health care reform that will be implemented
over the next few years, and modalities are being reimbursed less
often on many plans. Modalities represent passive care, which is
starting to trail behind the active care and rehabilitation aspects
of our profession. However, the various modalities still have very
therapeutic and beneficial effects for both acute and chronic
conditions, and just because insurance companies are changing their
ways doesn't mean they aren't still valuable for patients!
This week in our PT lab, we practiced treating different
electrical stimulation cases, primarily interferential current. We
applied the treatment for conditions of lateral epicondylitis
(pictured below), acute intervertebral disc pain, and chronic
shoulder arthritis. Interferential current (IFC) is most commonly
used for conditions with pain, edema, muscle spasms, or in order to
re-educate and strengthen muscles. The best part is when we crank
up the intensity on each other, to the point where the patient is
feeling the sensory stimulation but ALSO starts to have involuntary
muscle twitches! (Yes, I promise we are supervised when we do
this!) Practice makes perfect!
Look out for my next blog, since all 7th tri students will be
selecting clinic positions here in the next week! Have a great
One of the most exciting courses in 7th trimester is Advanced
Diagnosis and Problem Solving, and I am definitely doing a lot of
problem solving, that's for sure!
Two days a week, we are in the clinic with simulated patients,
or "sim patients" as we have grown to say. We encounter a brand new
patient, gain practice taking a thorough history, performing the
appropriate physical exams, establishing a diagnosis or diagnoses,
and reporting our findings with the patient. Nobody said becoming a
doctor was easy, and this class is a representation of the
challenges many students face when learning to interact with
Sometimes, the patient's clinical presentation is simple, and
you know exactly what steps need to be performed to establish the
diagnosis. Other times, the pieces don't fit together and you find
yourself researching a condition you studied a year ago, trying to
ask the appropriate questions to ensure you are on the right track.
This is the challenge of becoming a doctor: having the
responsibility of someone's health and wellbeing, but also being
able to think critically on your toes and establish a comforting
relationship with that patient, all in a 30-minute period. I have a
long way to go until I feel more confident during my patient
encounters, but I accept the challenge!
On Friday night, Student Council hosted its Fall Tri-Mixer at a
local venue that we all know fondly as Rita's. Between the dancing,
the photos, and all the laughter, I hope everyone had a great night
out! It's important to spend time with your peers outsidethe
classroom, getting to know people for who they are and as friends.
To all of the new 1st trimester students who attended, we hope you
got to know some of your other classmates and enjoyed a night off
from studying all that anatomy! :)
If 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
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
I'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
Until next week, take care!
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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! :)
• 5-Minute NUHS Campus Tour
• What I Learned in 6th Tri
• Opportunities Outside the Classroom
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