Halfway done…almost

I can’t believe I have almost made it to the half way point here at Palmer. I made it through the first year which I hear is the hardest, delivered my first adjustment in toggle recoil class, and passed round one of boards! It has been a crazy ride so far, but looking back on what I have accomplished I have to say it was worth it!

There are, of course, a few things I would do differently and many things I would not change. One thing I would do differently is I would have become involved with clubs here on campus right from the start. I have learned so much in the past few trimesters from the very knowledgable club representatives and wish I would have started sooner. There is only so much time in class so clubs allow you to explore the different techniques and determine which ones suit you best. There are so many fabulous clubs to attend but the two that I have come to know and love are the Animal Chiropractic Club and Motion Palpation Club. My first experiance with chiropractic was when my horse got adjusted so natually I got involved with the animal club and I am now vice president and loving every minute of it. I got involved with Motion Palpation Club when my friend became a club representative and dragged me to club one day during third trimester. I can’t thank her enough for making me go to club instead of sitting around doing nothing during the club hour!

I look forward to next trimester where there are even more technique classes and I get to start observing in clinic. It is hard to believe that in August I will get to start taking care of patients in the student clinic. It is exciting and scary all at the same time. As for the next seven months prior to entering clinic I plan to continue attending club meetings on campus and seminars off campus in order to master my adjusting skills because there is always more to learn.

Kaitlin Bowen, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus



Not only are these the lyrics of one of David Bowie’s most recognized hits (way before my time!), it also seems to be the recent theme of Palmer’s technique department. In response to student feedback, Palmer has made some big changes to introduce technique earlier into the curriculum! My class is the first group to experience these changes, and I can tell you that the reception among my classmates and myself has been awesome.

Palpation (first of Palmer’s technique classes) used to be a third trimester class, and last year it was moved to second trimester. I was nervous about adding an additional course to an already crowded class schedule, but it ended up being an appreciated addition to the heavy anatomy courses. It was so exciting to start palpating spinous landmarks and build the proprioceptors in my fingertips! There were challenges in trying to feel some osseous landmarks, but I know with continued practice this will get easier.

Another change has been the addition of a brand new course called, “Introduction to Subluxation Analysis.” This class incorporates palpation, instrumentation, x-ray, and posture analysis to identify and label a subluxation in a patient. Now, when I say instrumentation, I don’t mean that we are sitting around with flutes and guitars! We are learning how to use Nervoscopes and Tytron technology to objectify neurologic dysfunction and relative temperature of the spine. When this information is coupled with palpation, patient history, x-ray analysis, we can zero in on areas of the spine that might be subluxated. I’m starting to feel like a doctor! Again, these skills require lots of practice, and so I have a lot more work to do to feel comfortable and confident in these skills.

I think the coolest part about these changes, and one of the things I love about Palmer is that the institution really listens to students. They received the feedback from student surveys, and took action to move technique classes earlier in the curriculum. I know that these changes and future changes are implemented to help students become the best doctors of chiropractic we can be.

Leah Hetebrueg, 3rd Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Living the dream

I finally saw my first patient in the clinic!  I was seeing a patient for a reevaluation physical, which means that they had reached the end of their care plan and we do a physical to see how they have improved since their last physical and create a new care plan based on their current status.  I have heard horror stories of interns’ first physicals in the clinic taking 4+ hours, going so long that they need to reschedule for another night, and then spending many hours and days doing the paperwork involved.  So, I was a bit wary.  My patient had an exam the next day and for her sake (well, yes, and also for mine) I wanted to be as efficient as possible.  In the end, I was able to get the entire physical done in 1½ hours!  And a good portion of that time was spent waiting for the faculty doctor to sign off on paperwork so we could move on to the next step.  The patient left, and I spent another hour finishing up some of the written paperwork.  The next day I came in and spent maybe another hour typing it up, getting everything approved with my faculty doctor, and wrapping up any loose ends.  I was done that night with everything.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the whole process went.  Of course, there are some things I could improve on, for example some of the exams I did in an awkward order (“Ok, I’m going to have you sit….now stand up and do this for me….now lay on the table so I can do this…now stand for me again…”), but that will improve with practice.  It doesn’t help that the paperwork doesn’t have the exams written in the most convenient order for performing them!

The following weekend, I did my first adjustment in the clinic, and it was a bit of a surprise.  One of my patients that I wasn’t supposed to adjust for the first time until the following week needed to do a walk in, and I was already on campus for an elective, so I met her in the clinic.  It all happened so fast I didn’t really have time to work myself up or get nervous about it.  It was an AO (Atlas Orthogonal) adjustment, which uses an adjusting instrument, and is pretty “user friendly” so it wasn’t too nerve-racking.

On Monday I saw her again, and this time we did AO again, also an Activator workup and some trigger point therapy.  It was a good experience.  I have been enjoying Activator a lot—it is very rewarding, the protocol tells you what needs to be fixed, you adjust it, and then it tells you it’s fixed.  It’s great.  I also ended up doing my first NUCCA adjustment that night—also a surprise!  I was planning on observing the intern I’m taking over for, but when she found out I had just finished the elective and could adjust NUCCA in the clinic now, she told me to do it.  I had a hard time getting the patient to clear, so she tried too but also had a hard time…that made feel a little better.  Guess it gives some room to grow!

Wednesday I saw another patient for a NUCCA adjustment, and this time it worked.  The legs went perfectly even, all of the other post checks evened out, and I was thrilled!  I think my patient was even impressed.

Within the course of one week, I’ve done one physical and four adjustments already, and let me just say…this is FUN!  It’s great to be able to finally take what you’ve learned and use it toward patient care.  I haven’t felt scared or nervous at all; Palmer really does prepare us well.  I can’t wait to do more!  Bring it on!

Alissa Grover, 7th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus