As the first trimester of Phase 2 is wrapping up, graduation and the consequential commencement of “real life” seems to loom ever larger on the horizon. There are many questions that grow as well: “What kind of doctor will I be?” or “Where will I practice; what will my focus be?” For many students, myself included, one of the most pressing questions is about how to put the massive amounts of material into a manageable, effective memory construct. There is great freedom to practice in such a vast plethora of ways; it can be easy to become immobilized by all the choices and directions one can take.
Two students pondering the future
For me, I believe the best path is to excel at the basics. As in-depth and thorough an education we receive at school, it really is just an introduction to the vast ways in which students can practice, in other words — the basics. It is paramount that we, as doctors of chiropractic, excel at treating musculoskeletal issues first and foremost. It is by that standard that our effectiveness will be judged, both by our peers and our patients, so learning those modalities is a great place to start.
Secondarily, we are taught a rigorous curriculum that focuses on internal medicine and practical management of many of the common conditions. Indeed, no doctor should be a modality isolationist. Any doctor should know how to identify and manage most commonplace afflictions. A doctor must know when to refer. Designating oneself as only a musculoskeletal doctor doesn’t free you from the responsibility of identifying serious conditions within your patients.
Looking back on the trimester, it is easy to think only about the things that you didn’t think you learned enough about, or perhaps, the things you think you learned too much about. Talking to my fellow students, however, demonstrated to me, that everyone has different passions and areas that they eventually wish to focus on. Most importantly, though, everyone learned things that will enable all to be more effective doctors in the future. A foundation was laid down on which they can build their area of expertise. What I see is that students really are beginning to put things together as graduation begins to loom on the horizon. They know what they want to know, and have an idea of how they want to treat, and that is pretty powerful.