National University’s master of science degree program in advanced clinical practice (MSACP) now offers its students a unique internal medicine clinical rotation experience at the family practice clinic of Sean Rardin, MD.
One of the primary goals of this Internal Medicine Clinical Rotation course is to not only provide a robust clinical experience, but to also help bridge the gap between allopathic and chiropractic physicians by promoting collaborative medicine.
The entire two-year MSACP program, including the new rotation, is structured to accommodate the life of a busy professional. This means that students such as Dr. Naveed Saeed, a successful chiropractic physician who owns three offices in suburban Chicago, can participate without sacrificing undue time with his own patients.
Dr. Saeed is in the middle of the one-week Internal Medicine Clinical Rotation course at Riverwalk Family Medicine in Naperville, Illinois with Dr. Rardin. He spends three days with Dr. Rardin seeing 10-20 patients each day. The other two days Dr. Saeed spends compiling research and notes on two key patient cases. Part of his coursework requires him to write narratives on these cases, providing evidence-based, integrative therapeutic options.
“I think with the changing landscape in health care right now, the more tools you have as a doctor, the better off you will be,” says Dr. Saeed, who graduated with his DC degree from National University in 2001. “The MSACP program has already helped me in my practice from an internal medicine perspective.”
“Through the rotation, I’m able to see more internal disorder cases than I do in my chiropractic practice, giving me much broader first-hand experience. In addition, I get the chance to see how an MD would handle each case.”
One specific area Dr. Saeed has learned more about during his time with Dr. Rardin, is the use of prescription drugs. “While we study pharmacology in our program, the rotation experience takes it out of the realm of the theoretical and into the practical. For example, there are three main types of medication for high blood pressure.
Dr. Rardin shows me how to evaluate a patient’s history to determine which of the three would be the most appropriate in that particular patient’s case – which he would prescribe first and which he would prescribe second.”
Dr. Rardin takes time to discuss each patient’s chart and health history, and shares his treatment plan, as well as the rationale behind it with the intern. Since the rotation focuses on integrative medicine, Dr. Rardin also makes a point to ask Dr. Saeed how he would approach each case from a chiropractic medical perspective.
“Because this is a family medical clinic, we see patients of all ages with a wide range of health conditions,” says Dr. Rardin. “I usually start the week with each new MSACP student explaining that our main goal is to work together and learn from each other in order to take the best possible care of the patients we see. Our second priority is to give the student exposure to standard medical practice. Our third goal is to bring natural healing expertise to the patients. When I have the student here I have a wider repertoire to draw from in that respect because of the experience they can bring to the case.”
“Sometimes the biggest takeaway for a student is simply to see how another doctor runs their practice,” says Dr. Rardin. “When you watch another doc work, possibilities come up that you have never thought of – it can be anything from how we use electronic medical records to clinic flow. Students sometimes see simple ways they can improve the atmosphere and business flow of their own practice.”
Dr. Rardin says he has also gained from serving as the supervising physician for the rotation course. “I’m surprised how often the DC physicians share my same perspectives on health care. I didn’t expect quite as much camaraderie. They have the same concerns about patient care as I do and some of the same dreams for health care in the future.”
National University launched the MSACP program in 2007 through its Lincoln College of Postprofessional, Graduate and Continuing Education. The program offers first professional health care providers, such as chiropractic physicians, an in-depth immersion into collaborative medicine, while they are earning an academic degree.
“The learning experience is enhanced by the MSACP students having to research, prepare and discuss two separate patient cases with Dr. Rardin,” says Dr. Jonathan Soltys, dean of National University’s Lincoln College. “This discussion includes the consideration of integrative therapies and how they may be utilized, including but not limited to, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes such as sleep hygiene and stress management, active and passive care and dietary supplements.”
“My hope is that this experience between the students and Dr. Rardin fosters not only current dialogue between the professions, but sparks future communication and collaboration with other health professionals within the student’s respective communities,” says Dr. Soltys.