Almost done with clinic

Now that Boards are over most of my time is spent getting ready for precepting and moving across the country! We have two weeks left of classes for my trimester, and I still need to get two more physical exams to finish my graduation requirements. I have a bunch of paperwork to get turned in after I finish up those physicals.

I started packing up and cleaning out my apartment last night. I threw away a lot of things, gathered a lot of things for a garage sale and textbooks to donate, and started packing up the things that will come with me! My apartment looks too bare right now, but I have less than a month before moving day!

I am very excited to start this new journey. I’ve talked to the doctor I am precepting with, and we’ve set up a start date. We are both very excited to start working with each other. I am very excited to see the difference between how her office is run and how we run the clinic. I can’t wait to learn all aspects of how to run and operate an office, and I’m excited to start adjusting again! Having to take a month off from adjusting is going to be dreadful. I love adjusting, and when it’s been a long weekend or a break, I find myself missing it. I love that I’ve found a profession where I miss doing what I do when I’m unable to work for short periods of time.

I know I will be busy enough to keep my mind off it, though. Moving across the country is not an easy task. I’m glad I only had to do it once. I came to the Quad Cities from Burlington, Iowa, so it was a short trip to move here. Moving 18 hours away is a whole different story, but I couldn’t be more excited. I can’t wait to be a short drive from the beach and never having to freeze again. I will not miss Iowa winters, that’s for sure. I will miss several things about Iowa, but maybe that will be my first entry once 10th tri starts!

-Allisha

Part IV Boards are done … whew!

The end of April and most of May was dedicated to studying for Part IV Boards. Part IV is the last of the National Board exams we are expected to take. I took them on May 15 and 16. I was lucky to test on Friday and Saturday. Some of my classmates had to test Friday and Sunday, meaning they got an extra day to study for Sunday’s exam but they also didn’t get that extra day after to relax and unwind. So I was very happy to test and have it over with and have Saturday night and Sunday to just relax and try and declutter my brain.

Part IV is the practical portion of the Board exams, so it’s formatted differently than all the other Board exams. We’re tested over orthopedic and neurologic exams, physical exams and technique. There are 25 rooms where we are given real cases with actors who portray real life conditions that will present in our offices. We’re graded on how well we perform the exams, if we can diagnose the condition, if we know the follow up care, if we are professional and on how we interact with our patient.

The practical portion took about three hours for us to get through, but you’re not allowed to leave the test site until everyone in the country has finished testing (there are testing sites across the U.S.). Lucky for me I only had to stick around for an extra hour and a half. The first group that tested had to stay on campus for, like, five hours after their exam. They watched quite a few movies, from what I understand.

Anyway, the exam was tough, but I feel like I was prepared enough in my education and what I studied to do well. Unfortunately I won’t know for six weeks until the results come back to us. That’s Boards for ya! Take some of the worst exams of your life, study for weeks and don’t know how you did for a month and a half after you’ve taken it.

The good news is, the Palmer Davenport testing site has a very good pass rate, and I’m taking that as we are taught well and we know what we are talking about. Another great reason to choose Palmer!

-Allisha

Prepping to precept, graduate and move!

So much to do! Including packing and getting ready to move.

So much to do! Including packing and getting ready to move.

Over the last month I’ve been quite busy getting things ready for precepting, graduating and getting ready to move! School hasn’t been really busy this trimester; it’s all the other extra stuff I have to get ready in preparation.

We’ve had quite a few assignments and projects we’ve had to do as well. So most of April I was trying to get last-minute assignments done and trying to finish up my clinic requirements. My cousin also got married the beginning of May, so I spent a lot of time running to Ames to help with the wedding. So April was busy but not super exciting.

When you get into later trimesters, there’s a lot less demand of your time, which is actually very nice. We spent two years with no free time at all, and it’s been quite nice to have the last year with low levels of stress so I could gradually getting things done. We have fewer classes and more clinic time, which is great because we are actually seeing patients and doing what we’ve been working towards.

It’s actually been kind of funny because, after I caught up on lost sleep from the last three years, I found myself sitting around forgetting what to do with free time. Clearly I haven’t used that free time to write for this blog, but there really hasn’t been much to write about … except to let students and prospective students know that the madness does settle down. There are weeks when you don’t study at all and months where you only have one test and, believe it or not, a finals week where you only have three or four finals. So keep at it, you’ve come this far. Or if you’re just starting or considering starting the program, just go at it. It’s only crazy-busy for a short two years. Those two years fly by. Believe me, it doesn’t feel like I should be finishing my 9th trimester already. Thinking about having only one more trimester left just blows my mind.

Graduating in five months seems unreal. Fortunately, I now feel ready. It’s weird the transition you take. I remember going into 7th tri entering the CHC and feeling like I had no idea what I was doing and not feeling ready at all. I now officially feel ready to graduate. I am confident in my skills, I’m confident in my education and I’m confident that I have learned everything necessary here at Palmer. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to come here those short three years ago.

-Allisha

My Clinic Abroad experience

Adjusting in the clinic

Adjusting in the clinic

I was able to talk briefly about our journey to Clinic Abroad. Well now I have time to actually talk about my Clinic Abroad experience. I had the privilege to go to Bequia, a small island in the Caribbean off of St. Vincent in the Grenadines. We were there for about 10 days providing care to the people of Bequia. I can honestly say I have never had an experience quite like this one. Everything was absolutely amazing.

We arrived on a Thursday around 5 p.m. We got to our hotel and had dinner then went down to the ocean front and got to see a steal drums performance. Every night a different restaurant had live music and dancing. Thursday night was the steel drums.

The kids!

The kids!

Friday morning was our first day of clinic. We started almost every morning going to the different schools on the island and seeing the kids. I can’t even accurately explain how excited the kids were to see us. We would have children from other schools cheering as we walked by, hoping we were coming to their school that day. At lunch we would get stopped by kids asked when we were coming to their schools.

We did a fundraiser before our trip and sold little stuffed bears to give to the preschoolers. They loved them and the stickers we gave them. It was really cool to see such young people get so excited about something we take for granted sometimes.

Playing with the kids at school

Playing with the kids at school

That afternoon we opened up our clinic on the veranda at our hotel. Our view was overlooking the ocean. We couldn’t have asked for a better set up. We ended up seeing so many people and you could tell these people were just so grateful we saw people do things they haven’t been able to do in years. We saw people get out of pain they’ve had for months. We had people come back and tell us that visiting us last year changed their lives and they haven’t been in pain since, but they just wanted to come see us and get checked just to be sure. Everyone was so happy to see us, and after we had been there a couple days, we would get stopped on the streets and thanked for being there or asked what our hours were because they wanted to come see us.

We got to be immersed in the culture. And the food was delicious. I tried things I would have never thought to have tried. I found a favorite vegetable I’ll never find again. I am terrified of sharks, so as a personal victory one day I ate shark! I tried conch, barracuda, various island fruits and had the most delicious burrito and burger I’ve ever eaten.

Hiking up the volcano

Hiking up the volcano

We spent every night at the ocean with the most beautiful views. We went on a sailboat cruise to the Tobega Keys and snorkeled at World’s End Reef, which was just absolutely amazing, even though I got slightly sea sick. The night before we left, six of us hiked the volcano on St. Vincent.

The travel back was a little rough. We had planes delayed and missed flights and more delays and sitting on runways for hours, but we made the best of it. After getting home 24 hours later than we were supposed to, we still had a great time with wonderful memories.

The beautiful beach

The beautiful beach

The first rule of Clinic Abroad is to be flexible. We learned that first-hand on the way back, but even with that, I have nothing to complain about.

I can’t express how grateful I am for this experience. I wouldn’t have changed anything. If you ever get an opportunity to do something like this, just do it. You will not be disappointed, and the people are so grateful. I can’t pick a favorite moment–I can’t pick out what I liked the most because it was all just so perfect. I went with a group of classmates and left with a group of friends. I watched my classmates transition from students to amazing doctors, and I am more than happy to call each and every one of them my colleagues and friends. We really changed lives while we were there, and I think our lives were changed as well.

An experience I will never forget

An experience I will never forget

We all learned to be a little more grateful, a little more appreciative and a little more humble.

-Allisha

Clinic Abroad: On our way to Bequia

Leaving on a jet plane!

Leaving on a jet plane!

(written on the plane)

So I wanted to try and keep an as-we-go account of the trip for you guys so you will have a better idea of how a Clinic Abroad trip goes and get to experience it a little bit through my words. With that in mind, I am currently 3,700 feet in the air writing this for you on the third out of four flights we have to take to get to Bequia. Bequia is a little island in the Caribbean. It’s a part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that is our destination.

Our flight left yesterday (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. out of Moline, Ill. (Moline and Davenport are part of the Quad Cities). So after seeing patients all morning in the AHC, I left at about noon to finish throwing last minute things in my bags, grabbed lunch and was to the airport by 2 p.m. We checked into Moline with our next destination being Chicago then Miami.

We were to overnight in Miami, but to make things easier, we checked our bags straight through to Barbados. Trying to make things simple, I put all of my over-night things into my checked bag. So when we were told our bags were being checked straight through, I had to dig through my bag for essentials. In this case, that included contact solution. So I was going to Miami with contact solution and a toothbrush. No problem. That other stuff isn’t necessary!

Our flight out of Moline was only a few minutes late, again not a problem. We board on our way to Chicago, which turns out is like a 26-minute flight. I tried to study for Boards a little bit, but by the time I got my book out, the plane was landing.

We got to O’Hare, grabbed some food and got to our terminal. Our layover wasn’t a really long one. Then we got the announcement that the plane was undergoing maintenance. First it was the hydraulic hose, so our 7:10 p.m. departure turned into 7:30. Then they were waiting on another part. Our departure changed to 8:30. Let me remind you, I’m pretty sure it was -50 degrees out there (slight exaggeration), so those maintenance men are out there for an hour now working on this plane, probably frost-bitten. They’re working slowly, and our departure is now 9:30.

Finally, after numerous updates of all these bad situations, the repairs are done and the maintenance men came out into the terminal to a warm welcome of applause from tired travelers.

We finally start boarding at around 9:30 on our way to Miami! We arrived in Miami around 1:30 a.m., I believe. By the time we get to our hotel rooms, it was after 2 a.m. By the time we got to bed, it was 3 a.m. That gave us three and a half hours until our wake-up call for our next flight to Barbados–6:30 a.m. came fast, and we were all on zombie status. The only thing keeping us going is knowing we’re going to be in 80-degree weather on the beach at some point today!

The morning went smoothly. We had breakfast, got on the plane and are currently en route to Barbados. Almost everyone is asleep or studying for Board exams. We have one more flight to go to get from Barbados to Bequia on a miniature plane, and we couldn’t be more excited to arrive and start changing lives!

Despite the minor delays, we’ve had a great time on our long travel days. If you learn anything from Clinic Abroad, it’s that you must learn to be flexible! It will all work out in the end. Make the best of the experience because it will be the best experience!

-Allisha

Another tri done!

My new home on campus ... the Davenport Clinic in the Academic Health Center!

My new home on campus … the Davenport Clinic in the Academic Health Center!

The trimester has come and gone once again. These last couple of weeks have just been preparing for just that–the end of the trimester. We haven’t really been doing much except spending more time in clinic. The 9th and 10th trimester students are finishing up their adjusting credits, so my trimester is starting to take over more of their patients.

Other than seeing patients we’ve gotten through finals. This is the first trimester we haven’t had a full week of finals. Our last test was on Tuesday, then we flew out Wednesday for Clinic Abroad. I went to clinic in the morning, saw a few patients and had to be at the airport at 2 p.m. More on that to come!

Eighth trimester flew by. Everyone says it’s the most laid back trimester, and finally something I was told so long ago in first trimester has been right! I really enjoyed this trimester finally getting into the outpatient clinic seeing patients with more complex cases and not being in class all day! At first I was having a hard time dealing with all my free time. I wasn’t sure what to do with all of it, I got over that quite quickly with a lot of netflix and naps. I had 7 trimesters of naps to catch up on and 8th trimester was a great time for that.

That being said, I’ve had a great time in my first trimester in the outpatient clinic. I have seen a wide variety of patients all making improvements and some already fully recovered. I’ve used skills I didn’t think I would use much. Most surprisingly I went into clinic thinking I would be using mostly one technique, and I have actually used a wide variety of adjusting techniques. The one I thought I wanted to use the most, I probably used the least. It is all about finding what fits best for you and your patients, and that might not be the same thing for every case. I’m excited to see what 9th trimester brings.

Now, I’m off to Bequia!

Getting ready to precept!

Florida, here I come!

Florida, here I come!

Today I write to you from an airplane! I am on my way back from Florida! I spent the last two days in the sunshine and on the beach away from the cold and snow!

No, really I came purely on a business trip. I actually met with three different field doctors to talk to them about potential precepting opportunities (!!).

Palmer’s precepting program allows its students to go out and work in an office with an approved field doctor. There are doctors all over the United States that are eligible to host student interns, and this program allows us to learn from someone who has been out in the field for a long time. It also allows the field doctors to learn from us! The profession has grown so much that everyone can benefit. They also get the extra help around the office and get an opportunity to help out a student.

So most of Thursday I spent meeting with the doctors and talking to them about their practices and trying to decide which place would be best for me. All three offices were very different and had really different things to offer. It was a really hard decision to make, but I think I have decided on which office would be the best fit for me!

I am very excited for this opportunity and being able to have met so many wonderful doctors out in the field. It’s really great how accepting and welcoming the field doctors are. It’s always great to get out and see different offices. I recommend doing that as much as possible!

On Friday we spent most of the day looking at houses. Everything is happening so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time to do all of this. We looked at some really interesting properties, but we found one we really like. Everything seems to be falling into place. I am ready to get out there and take in everything I can. The precepting program is a really great opportunity, and I am so thankful to be able to get this experience.

‘I know this is going to go terribly’

Nerve-wracking

Nerve-wracking

So I mentioned that I took the clinical OSCE, and after you’re graded on it you have to go through and review your tapes and watch yourself perform the exams. This happens a few weeks after you take the exam, and so I had my OSCE review a couple weeks ago and it just seems so weird watching myself. Those awkward silences were just as awkward in the video as they were in the room that day.

Overall, though, I was pleased with how I did and I think I did quite well. I noticed a couple of things that I forgot to do. I was sort of dreading having to watch myself because I was thinking, “I know this is just going to go terribly.” I didn’t want to see myself being all frazzled trying to get through this test. At the time, you’re not sure if you’re acting awkward or not because you’re nervous about taking the test, and I just really felt like I would get in there, watch myself on the tape and see that I was just doing terribly.

Luckily, that was not the case. It turns out I actually know what I am doing! And I have learned quite a bit while I’ve been here.

-Allisha

What I did on my winter vacation

This is the trimester with our holiday break, which always makes the trimester feel super long. This break was nice because we got about two weeks off, and, being in a higher trimester, we didn’t have anything to study for over break and didn’t have a lot of homework. So I just got to relax and enjoy my break.

I remember in lower trimesters hating this break because there was always so much to study for over break and not wanting to study–because I wanted to spend time with family and do holiday things.

This break I did a bit of traveling around spending time with family. The first part of the break, I went to visit a friend in Minneapolis for a few days, just to get away and relax. On my way back from there, I stopped in Ames to visit my cousin then headed back home to spend a few days with the family. Then I went back to Ames so I could get a bridesmaid dress for my cousin’s wedding. Then I went back to Minneapolis for the New Year.

I ended the break by going to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert at the iWireless center in Moline (right across the river in Illinois) the Sunday before classes started up again. It was a great show this year. This was the 11th time I’ve seen them in concert, but this year was the first year I had floor seats. We were in the 8th row, and it was an amazing way to end my break!

I spent a couple days in Davenport somewhere in there to get my homework done. I seem to work better in my own element, so I knew I would have to spend a couple days at my apartment or I would never get my work done. It was really nice to have a relaxing break with a bit of traveling and getting away before things pick up. Then when I got back to school in the New Year, I was able to start seeing outpatients, which was a great way to start the new year!

It’s clinic time!

Student adjusting in the clinic

In the clinic, students adjust patients under the supervision of a staff doctor.

Right before break, we officially cleared for the outpatient clinic in the AHC (Academic Health Center). We had two days to be in the clinic before we left for break. I spent the first couple days and the week after break just observing other interns taking care of patients, so I had a better idea of what to do when it came time for me to start taking care of patients.

There are quite a few differences between the two clinics. In the AHC, we have Medicare, Medicaid and insurance patients, which means there are certain ways the paperwork needs to be done and filed that is slightly different then how we did things over in the student clinic. I wanted to make sure I had most of that figured out first.

Since we’ve cleared, I really just spend most of my time in the clinic seeing patients. Since I’m still a new intern, I don’t get to see very many, but I have been able to take over a couple patients and it has been an awesome experience.

In the CHC (Campus Health Center, the student clinic), our patients are primarily Palmer students, so most of them are wellness patients or have a general understanding of being healthy. So we don’t see a lot of patients with problems. In the AHC, you have patients from the community coming into receive care because they have problems. It’s really cool to get the different experience and start working with outpatients.

So that has been keeping me busy. We have fewer classes during this trimester so we can spend most of our time in the clinic. It has been a couple weeks, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of things!

As the trimester ends, I suspect things will pick up and we’ll start to get quite busy. With not having as many classes this trimester, I find myself with more free time than I’ve ever had before–so that’s been a pretty big adjustment. I feel like its been well-earned, though it’s nice to not have things to do constantly. So I assure you, it does happen!

Except Boards are right around the corner again, so it’s back to hitting the books again real soon!