I hope everyone enjoyed learning about Johnny and Shehab in the
Salvy Series the past two weeks! In the chiropractic profession,
it's important to appreciate all of the different backgrounds
students come from and focuses we have while going through school.
I look forward to sharing my own Salvy Series blog closer to
View from the Salvation Army clinic on a beautiful October
The past few weeks of clinic, I have been passing off my
patients to 8th and 9th trimester interns who are eager to get
more hands-on with patient care! I've been keeping myself busy
studying for Part 4 board exams in mid-November, working on my
Illinois state license application, and studying material for my
Nutrition and Functional Medicine courses that I'm currently
enrolled in. With the University of Western States program, I am
learning about gastrointestinal and immune system imbalances,
classes that I find both incredibly fascinating and invaluable. We
have always been taught in school that food itself is NOT medicine,
yet eating a properly-balanced diet and incorporating a wide
variety of nutritious foods can have a life-changing impact on your
health! Making these lifestyle changes can be a challenge, so I'm
enjoying using myself and my friends and family as guinea pigs
before I'm in clinical practice!
View from the rooftop of my new apartment in Lakeview
overlooking the city
For the month of November, I will be interning with Dr. Donald
Owens (a 1992 National University grad) at the Illiana VA hospital
in Danville, Illinois. I'll be moving down Sunday afternoon and
preparing for my 4-week experience working with veterans.
Fortunately, there is housing provided for me while I am
participating in the internship, and I plan on returning on the
weekends to Chicago for seminars, Part 4 boards, and the
Thanksgiving holiday. November is already booked up, and before I
know it, December will be here. Woah, time has flown! I think it's
safe to say our entire class is eager for Week 15 to arrive!
I look forward to sharing my experiences with you from Danville,
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!
• 5-Minute NUHS Campus Tour
• What I Learned in 6th Tri
• Opportunities Outside the Classroom
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