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

Mock clinic for Clinic Abroad

An example of one of Palmer's Clinic Abroad clinic in India

An example of one of Palmer’s Clinic Abroad clinic in India

We had our first mock clinic for Clinic Abroad. We met in the gym and went over a few rules and just discussed how a regular clinic day would go while we were in Bequia or India. Then we took our equipment up to the second level of the gym to set up our clinic the same way we would be setting up the clinics each day in the areas we were visiting.

We were given limited space, so we knew how it would feel while we were actually there. The clinic we are going to be working in, in Bequia, is actually going to be smaller than where we were in the Palmer gym. So we all will be working very closely.

This was our first exposure to the actual paperwork we will be using in the clinics. It is quite a bit different from what we use in our campus clinics, since there are different requirements that need to be met abroad, as we are not seeing patients that get regular care.

Bequia Clinic Abroad

A Palmer student intern adjusting a patient at an orphanage during a recent Clinic Abroad trip to Bequia (Photo by Taryn Foster)

We ran through the full exam exactly how we are supposed to with our patients to get some exposure, so we don’t get there and have no idea what we are doing. I think it just got everyone really excited.

We got to work through some actual patient cases so we knew what kind of patient care we would be providing and what some of the past cases had been. It was something fun and enjoyable to come back to after the Thanksgiving break. I am really looking forward to going.

-Allisha

Planning for the future

Is Florida in my future?

Is Florida in my future?

I wrote this on the second day of classes of my 8th trimester here at Palmer. It seems hard to believe. My schedule this tri is also a little unbelievable.

Most days we’re done by noon. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’re done at about 3 p.m., and Monday I only have one class. I was told this time would come where we wouldn’t be in class from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. straight, but as I got further into the program, I got less and less hopeful that I would see it. But, alas, I have reached it and it’s beautiful.

The first half of the trimester we’re still in the CHC (Campus Health Center, the student clinic), so we can’t get into clinic until later in the day. So we are still in clinic until about 7 p.m., but it seems we’ll have a little more time to do other things this trimester. We clear for the AHC (Academic Health Center, where our outpatient clinic is located) in mid December. Then, whenever I’m in not in class, I will be over in the outpatient clinic, but I still get a couple months of smooth sailing.

Being in clinic is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like school, so I don’t mind being there. It’s also only the second day, so I really have no idea how the trimester is going to go. All I know is we are transitioning into clinic phase, and I am excited for that. We also have to start thinking seriously about precepting and finding doctors that are willing to host an intern.

I am Florida bound! I emailed several doctors yesterday in Pasco County. I’m just waiting to hear back, and if I have no success I shall look around Orlando. I’m excited to be able to start looking and talking with potential doctors in that area. I feel like I don’t have much time to get it done, though.

Trying to find time to get to Florida to meet with doctors has become an issue, since over our next break I’ll be in Bequia for the Clinic Abroad Program! That’s okay, though. I’ll get it all figured out, and I’m excited about it all. There are a lot of good things coming along in the next year and I can’t wait to see where my chiropractic journey takes me!

-Minda

I’m going on Clinic Abroad!

We had our first meeting for Clinic Abroad last week. This was just a welcome meeting that gave us the basic information of our trip and generally what we needed to know before we leave. I got accepted to go to Bequia in February! We got to see who else was going to be going on the trips with us and sign up for roommates.

Bequia is a small island in the Grenadines, where we will be providing care to a lot of school-aged children. I can’t wait for this opportunity. I remember first hearing about Clinic Abroad and saying to myself, “No matter what, I’m doing that!” It’s a little unreal that it’s actually happening. Only one more trimester before we leave. I should probably start thinking about what to pack!

I’m just kidding. It’s a little early for that, but I did put a countdown on my phone until we go! 128 days 37 minutes and 9 seconds from right now.

I think what I’m most excited about is to see the excitement from the people of Bequia about chiropractic. Here in the States there is still negativity towards our profession, and it seems like on any given day you can get into an argument with someone on the topic. On Clinic Abroad they’re so accepting and excited that you’re there to help them and they embrace it fully. Or so I’m told. I can’t wait to be able to give them the care they have been waiting for. I know it’s going to be life-changing.

-Allisha