Archive for tag: chicago

Job Hunting

Top -job

Well, I wish I could report the job search has been successful, but it has been a bit rougher than I had anticipated. Because I have been limiting my search to the Chicagoland area it has been quite difficult to find a medical group to take me on. One of the many challenges of job-hunting in an unlicensed state is explaining what it is that I do in addition to why someone would hire me when I am not currently licensed in this state. 

As soon as I find a lead that sounds promising, it ends up being a wash! I have hope, but am starting to think more seriously about my Plan B. Plan B consists of moving in with my sister in Missouri to help take care of my niece for the summer while studying for the NPLEX 2 board examination, which will be held this August. While I would love to have a job right out of school, it may be a blessing in disguise that I am not finding just any job here in Chicago… meaning I can focus on studying for boards and potentially move to a licensed state and get a great job! Here's to hopin'!! 

On another note, my best friend Sarah, who is also a 10th trimester intern, landed a job at an integrated practice in Joliet, Ill. The official open house for the alternative medicine wing of her facility is this Wednesday and I am planning to attend with several of my fellow interns. Our newest clinician, Dr. Julie Martin, was asked to be the keynote speaker at the open house and we are anxious to hear her speech! We are all very happy to celebrate Sarah's success and will jump at any opportunity to hang out together as one big ND bunch! As the days grow closer to graduation, we are beginning to realize we aren't going to be spending every day together as we have for the past 4 years. At least we all have Skype to keep us connected! 

Old Photos

While going through old photos I came across a couple of old pictures of the ND gang back in our first year of school. The picture at the top is of a group of ND students and I posing after a long day at school during second trimester. I remember feeling so adult back then, thinking that I knew exactly what I was going to do once I graduated. 

Ashley -2-1_1

The above picture is from the white coat ceremony where we got to dress up in our white coats and feel "official." Today, I can say with certainty, I had no idea what I was getting into back then! This program has taught me more about myself that I could have ever known back then. I know in 4 years from now I will look back at graduation and feel the exact same way… thinking I had everything figured out!

Metra Train Excursion

Top -ash

I know this is absolutely ridiculous, but I have to admit I have never taken the Chicago Metra train in my whole 5 years of living here! I was actually forced to take the Metra from Downers Grove to my Salvation Army rotation in downtown Chicago this past Friday as my car quit on me early last week. Aside from my broken down car being a headache, the train was so easy and the best part was I didn't have to sit in traffic on the way back home! I am totally going to take the train much more often!  

Valentine's Day Fondue! 

Ashley -bottleSince Valentine's Day fell on a Monday, my boyfriend and I decided to make dinner and have a quiet night at home. When I got home from my clinic shift late in the evening, I was surprised with a bubbling pot of cheese fondue and heart shaped rice crispy treats! Yum! On top of my dinner surprise I also received some paraben and phthalate free bath products! I finally have my friends and family trained to look for products that are free of harsh preservatives that are known to create long term health affects.

Phthalates are used in plastics to give them their flexibility and durability. The use of phthalates is being phased out, as there are emerging health concerns over their safety. Parabens are used to increase the shelf life of cosmetics and are found in an array of products from shampoo to toothpaste. Parabens can also be added to food to prevent spoilage. Products without parabens and phthalates are becoming more available especially in many infant bath products. It's something to keep in mind the next time you go to the store for toiletries! 

The final move!

This weekend wrapped up my month of moving… FINALLY! My boyfriend and I rented a 16-foot truck with a car carriage attached to the back to haul the rest of my apartment and car back home. I know it had to be unnerving to drive that big truck with an additional car in tow, but my boyfriend would never admit it!  It was nice to spend some time with my family and get out of school mode for a few days. 

Ashley -car -1_1

I am counting down the days to graduation… Only 2 more months now!! I am so ready to graduate… can't wait!!

Moving Update

Top -fam

Yes, I am still in the process of moving! Did I mention my family is the best?? My mom and brother came back to Chicago for Round 2 of moving. In between moving and packing we had time to go for a nice sushi dinner and have some good laughs! I have been so stressed out lately with keeping on track with graduation requirements and moving that it was nice to see my family! 

Scoping Out Shadowing Opportunities 

I've been searching high and low for a naturopath to shadow in the Midwest and finally came across Andrew Peters, DC, ND, in Danville, IL. He is more than happy to host a baby ND like myself and to teach me the ins and outs of practicing in Illinois. Although he practices in a rural community in southern Illinois, I am sure he has words of wisdom for setting up a practice and how to recruit patients. Dr. Peters said there should be many patient visits to sit in on and he also mentioned that his office is BYOS… Bring your own stethoscope! I am anxious to learn from a doc in the field!  

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day here, I had to keep up with tradition by buying Grissom, my boyfriend's cat, a Valentine's day outfit. He is a very docile cat and humors me when I want to dress him up. We had a good laugh torturing him!! 

Ashley -cat

I've heard the weather is going to warm up by the end of the week… I sure hope so! We need sunshine to melt all this leftover snow in Chicago! 

I hope everyone has a great week!

Snow Day

Top -snow

This week we had a huge blizzard blow through Chicago that brought almost 2 feet of snow! In some places it felt like much more due to the high winds causing the snow to drift. As we sat in clinic and watched the snowstorm roll in, we finally got word we were able to leave early to get home safe before it really got bad. Unfortunately for some, their normally 20-minute commutes were turned into a 2-hour plus ordeal! Luckily for me, I had gone grocery shopping the night before and could go straight home and prepare for my first snow day of 2011! 

Ashley -snow

Aside from catching up on television watching on my extra day off, my boyfriend and I painted our living room and began organizing my things into the apartment. It always sounds like a good idea to paint until you realize how much prep work there is! Filling nail holes, sanding bumps and priming… I will be glad once it is done! By the end of the month I will be completely moved out of my old apartment and finally know where all of my things are! 

Saturday Clinic Shifts

This past Saturday was our first Saturday naturopathic clinic shift. We were surprisingly busy with each intern on shift having a new patient. Being open on a weekend day will help patients who work during the weekdays to be able make an appointment. We have had many new patients since the beginning of the year, which goes to show that word about our clinic is being spread in the community. With our newest staff member, Julie Martin ND, coming from a strong oncology background, she has referred several recovering cancer patients to our clinic for adjunctive care. This is an awesome experience for the naturopathic interns as many of us have a specific interest in oncology. 

Job Hunting 

The search for a job continues! I have had some promising leads in the Chicagoland area but am still unsure where I want to set up shop permanently. I am looking forward to graduation, which will open up a lot more time for job searching. One step at a time! 

Ashley -snow -vert

Have a great week and let's hope for no more snow!!

Grand Rounds

Top -friends2

Next week for Grand Rounds I am scheduled to present to fellow interns, clinicians and classmates. Grand Rounds is required of all interns in both Trimester 9 and 10. 

Clinical Question

You are given the freedom to present on a clinical question of your choice and my friend and I decided to pose the following clinical question: How do Clinical Outcomes Improve with Physician Education on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) Sensitive Issues? We chose this topic based on a recent discussion on the importance of asking patients sensitive questions revolving around sexual history. As naturopathic physicians, we cannot brush over a patient's sexual history by not asking if they are in a committed relationship, having sexual relations with men women or both, or how many partners they've had in a lifetime. If we avoid these questions, we are not getting a true picture of the patient's risks for disease. 

Interesting Research

Disease types and risks can vary depending on the patient's social and sexual history. For example, lesbian patients were once told they had less of a risk of developing HIV/AIDS. This, of course, is entirely untrue. In fact, our research found many lesbian patients reported that when they were asked if they were sexually active, it was usually automatically assumed they were only intimate with males. If they disclosed they were in an intimate relationship with another female, it was assumed they never had sexual relations with a male in their lifetime. 

And then comes the whole topic of transsexuals who can exogenously inject hormones to more physically resemble the opposite sex. This comes with a whole set of probable disease developments. These are just a few of the stereotypes we dug up during research for our presentation. This was enough to spark our interest to investigate this topic further and present our findings to our fellow interns. 

Valuable Resource

During our research, my co-presenter and I visited the Howard Brown Center in downtown Chicago. Howard Brown is a health care organization that serves more than 36,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals annually. The organization provides primary medical care, behavioral health counseling, research, HIV/STI prevention and social services for all age groups. We met with Chandra Matteson, RN, to discuss our presentation to ensure we were on the right track and to gain more information from someone who works with this population first-hand. She was more than helpful in critiquing our slides and provided us with a wealth of resources. We had such a great time we took pictures with Chandra and added it to our presentation!  

Ashley _Sarah _Chandra

Unfortunately, you have to be a student or faculty member of the University to be invited to attend Grand Rounds, but I urge those who are in health care to take another look into this populations' unique set of health issues. It has been indeed proven that with training in GLBT-sensitive issues clinical outcomes are more favorable. 

Wish me luck on my presentation! I will report how it goes next week!