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

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!

AHC, here I come!

Academic Health Center, aka the AHC

Academic Health Center, aka the AHC

This trimester we have to complete a few rotations and do observations in the AHC (Academic Health Center) before we clear for Level II clinic. We have to go observe in the rehab department, the front desk and the outreach clinic. I have all of those scheduled for the first week of December.

I went in an observed patient care under my staff doctor this week for a couple hours. It was really cool getting in there and seeing the differences between how the clinics work. It’s weird to think in less than a month I’ll be over in that clinic working with outpatients. I think that was one of the most interesting things I observed. We get so use to being in our close-knit community here at Palmer surrounded by people that are on the same page as us and understand what we say and the things we’re doing. When you work with outpatients, they haven’t had the exposure to chiropractic that the patients in the CHC (Campus Health Center) have–because the patients there are mainly students. So they don’t always understand what’s going on, and it takes a little extra explanation that we’re not use to giving.

I am excited to start over there and get that whole new experience. It’s amazing how quickly things are going, and I can’t believe that I graduate in less than a year. It’s hard to think of this point when you first start, but now that I am here, it seems like the last two plus years didn’t even happen. Just enjoy the experience and take in as much as you can, because before you know it, it will gone.

-Allisha

Clinic Abroad is getting closer!

Getting ready to fly

Getting ready to fly

We had our first Clinic Abroad meeting of the trimester. We got information on where we’re going financial aid information and our itinerary. In total, to get to Bequia and back, we will be taking nine different flights and possibly a boat ride! A lot of people are a litttle uneasy about it. I’m excited. I love everything about traveling, even the airports.

We got to see pictures of the places we will be adjusting … and the place in which we’ll spend the most time overlooks the ocean! We will also be visiting a lot of schools during the day and taking care of a lot of preschool children. I am excited and nervous at the same time. We haven’t gotten a lot of hands-on experience with small children, so it will be a complete learning experience.

Whales

Whales

We get a couple free days to go and do as we please, and one day we’re going to go on a boat cruise! Bequia is also one of the last countries where whaling is legal, and we will be there during whaling season. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this. I thoroughly enjoy whales, but this is part of their culture and they aren’t doing it for sport. We were told the island is full of whale bones and there are even restaraunts that have them on display. That I’m looking forward to quite a bit because, even though the fate of the whale was unfortunate, who wouldn’t want to see whale bones? I can’t believe we leave in 3 months! It came up so quickly. I really just can’t wait to be adjusting all day and changing some lives!

Flip! I’m going to be in clinic more than classrooms

We went on a clinic tour of the Academic Health Center (better known as the AHC) with our new staff doctors. This gave us an opportunity to meet our staff doctor and ask them a few questions. It’s a little weird already going into Level One clinic. Most days I forget I’m not in first trimester anymore. It’s weird saying I’m going into eight tri when people ask.

The great news is my schedule for next trimester is beautiful. Most days I’m done by noon except on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have class until 2:45, which is still way better than 3:40 like the last seven trimesters! On Mondays, I only have one class and it’s a lab! It’s going to be sooo nice not having to be in class all day then go to clinic for four hours after eight hours of sitting in a classroom. This is the trimester where it flips. We’re in clinic more than we’re in class, which is definitely preferred.

So anyway we got a tour of the outpatient clinic and saw where we were going to be spending most of our time. It was really helpful, even though I’m sure when it comes time, I’m still going to have no idea where to find anything. So if you see me running around frantically, I’m probably lost. I usually am.

It was really cool getting a glimpse of what is to come. There is a lot to be excited about within the next year!

-Allisha

My first adjustment in clinic!

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day. We had an exam at 7:30 a.m. and then standard classes the rest of the day. I was not looking forward to it because we also have board review this week, which means I am in class from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. for the rest of the week.

Now I know you’re, like, “Uh, she said this was an exciting day. This does not sound exciting yet.” Well, the exciting stuff happened at the end of the day!

We have been working on reciprocal work in our clinical methods class, which is a class we take to prepare ourselves for clinic. Reciprocal work is doing everything we would do in clinic with a patient, except you’re doing it on a classmate.

Well, yesterday and today were the adjusting days. So we got into the AHC (Academic Health Center), which is where my partner and I were assigned, and it was the first time I had ever been down there. We were working under my AHC staff doctor, which was cool because I got to meet her and actually work under her for the day. It was the first clinical type adjusting situation I’ve been in.

So I took the history on my patient, did the evaluation, found her subluxation, called the staff doctor in and told her I was ready. She said, “Okay great, go ahead.” It was C3 body right. I did supine diversifed, and I got it in the first try! It was so cool!

I was nervous because it was the first time I was being watched by a staff doctor in the actual clinic. She seemed to have full confidence in what I was doing when I wasn’t 100% sure I had full confidence in myself. And I did it. My patient even told me she couldn’t tell that I was nervous. She said it was a great adjustment and was jealous that I got it on the first try.

I thought I was going to be a lot more stressed out than I actually was … just because when you’re adjusting in class on adjusting days, you’re in front of your teachers who you’ve spent a whole trimester with and kind of know and you’re still nervous to have them watch you. And, here in this situation, I’m working under someone I’ve never met who has more confidence in me than I do, and I don’t come off as nervous at all. It just shows that we’re getting more confortable in our abilities and our capabilities.

After class was over, I rushed over to the CHC (Campus Health Center, the student clinic) to observe an appointment for a patient I’ll be taking over once we clear. So that was even more exciting, getting to be in the clinic setting with your patients, seeing their care and knowing that pretty soon you’ll be adjusting them, too.

The appointment ran a little long, so I was about a half hour late to board review and starving. Luckily my wonderful best friend brought me Jimmy Johns so I could make it through the rest of the night. Tonight I have another patient to observe during my clinic shift and more board review. It’s a busy and long week here at Palmer!

-Allisha