My first observation!

This past week I did my first observations in the student clinic. It was very exciting because I finally feel like all this hard work sitting through lectures is paying off. This is what I have looked forward to for so long. Being able to start working with patients is very rewarding.

I feel very prepared to enter clinic, but to ensure that I am as prepared as I can be, I will most likely use some of my summer break to review all those orthopedic tests and my notes that I have accumulated at the many seminars I have attended.

I want to be able to give my patients the best care, and enjoy every minute of it!

Kaitlin Bowen
6th trimester student, Davennport Campus

Found: Faith in my own two hands

I have finally completed my first month in clinic. Clinic is a very exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. My first few weeks, I mentally told myself that I knew what I was doing and my findings were really a subluxation.

I had no faith in myself for my first few patients, but I didn’t let them know that. Once things started going, I began to relax more and trust myself. I didn’t need my staff doctor to check everything for me. I began to realize that adjusting really is as easy as they explained it in class, although during class it was one of the hardest concepts.

Patients have also been a great help on giving feedback about what they did or didn’t like– if I stung them at all (oops!) and letting me try new techniques. It feels good knowing that I truly understood the concepts that confused me so much in class.

Even though I mentally knew that all my hard work would pay off, I’m finally seeing the results of that hard work, and it amazes me. Palmer has definitely given me quite a few “tools” to work with on patients. If one technique doesn’t work or the patient doesn’t like it, I can do something different.

Chiropractic has also given me instant gratification at times. When a patient is lying on the table after an adjustment and says that she has no more pain. It is an amazing feeling. The power of chiropractic can do so many things. You just have to trust your hands!

Christa K. Scheffler
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus

The power of proof

Finally, from the 5th trimester, we have opportunities to take elective classes as long as we meet the prerequisites.

We get to take specific technique classes that are not the part of the Palmer package, and I had a great opportunity to take an upper-cervical technique class called Atlas Orthogonal. This “AO” technique uses an instrument to adjust, and was created by the founder Dr. Roy Sweat. Dr. Sweat wanted to create an instrument that would give same positive outcomes to every patient, since adjustments can vary for everyone and even within oneself.

One of the foremost things I loved about this class was the amount of research that was done by AO doctors. Many doctors who came over to the Palmer to teach us about AO were involved in many research projects. They wanted to show people that chiropractic works, and in order to prove it, we need scientific proof and written documents.

Also, they wanted to show what they do visually, so they have set up a protocol to take pre- and post-X-ray film. They take post-films immediately after the first adjustment. These post films not only gave them information about the treatment given, but also helped the doctors to set up the treatment plan for each individual. Many patients showed remarkable improvements after single adjustments, regaining their curves back in their cervical immediately. There were cases that required prolonged and numerous treatments, and later on showed improvements. There were cases with patients with Bell’s Palsy and acute torticollis with incredible results.

Also, pictures of patient’s posture and leg lengths pre- and post-treatment were taken to show the patients that there are improvements. It was amazing to see the power of chiropractic, and the power of the upper-cervical system.

This research and actual visual proof of the effects of adjustments are not only necessary for the future of the chiropractic, but to spread the word about chiropractic to many of those who do not know about this profession.

I thought that the classes were amazing, and it would be great if more chiropractic offices would take visual proofs about what they do for both the doctors and the patients. We all know that chiropractic works and about the power of the chiropractic, but if we can show the others who are not familiar with the chiropractic, why not do more research and record proofs about our outcomes and move our professions forward?

Yoon Mi (Lisa) Kim
5th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Goodbye, rugby. Hello, yoga!

I started going to the gym when I first arrived at Palmer a year and a half ago. Also, I found a yoga studio downtown and got more into practicing yoga. I liked the gym, and I liked workouts that really pushed me, which is why I decided to join the rugby team.

After a year of playing and spending time at the gym, I realized that the type of workout I like started changing. I felt stressed and that the gym was just another check on my to-do list.

People started asking me where I was when they hadn’t seen me there in a while, which was great for accountability, but I was also taking on the weight of feeling like I had to go when I really did not want to. I started to realize that I did not have to work out for other people, just for me.

It is a hard thing sometimes to differentiate what you are doing because someone put that in your subconscious that that’s what you SHOULD be doing, versus what is really in your heart and you want to do for you.

It is also hard to think you should do things for you, because it can seem selfish at first. But how can you really love others until you love yourself? And how can you love yourself if you are not living in congruency with your values and what you really would like to do? What makes you come alive? What really lights your fire? Why do you get out of bed in the morning?

I digress, but I quit rugby and going to the gym and turned more to yoga and running outdoors after coming to this realization. I wanted to be outside with nature and move my body the way hunters and gatherers and old yogis did! I have found peace in yoga, and it made me want to move further with it.

Last weekend a friend and I from Palmer took our yoga training. It was fantastic! In a lot of ways, I saw it parallel chiropractic. There is a philosophy, an art and a science to it. There are people who practice many different types. There are people who do what ancient yogis used to do in the Himalayan Mountains where yoga all started, and there are people who use new science and who really get into the biomechanics and the workout of yoga. To me this is very similar to what I see in our profession and I really appreciate the diversity. The yogic philosophy is very similar to what I believe, and in my opinion goes hand-in-hand with chiropractic.

The five principles of yoga are proper exercise, proper diet, proper breathing, proper relaxation, and positive mind and meditation. My passion is optimal health, like a lot of chiropractors, and these five principles are right up my alley. I heart yoga and chiropractic!

Kaleigh Strath
5th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Athletes turn to Palmer for care

Recently I have been working in the outpatient clinic at the Academic Health Center during my 8th trimester. There have been numerous athletes coming in to get worked on in the clinic, and I have really enjoyed the learning experience I have gotten from it. My staff doctor has made some great connections at the local gym, and, as a result, the word is spreading among the athletic community that chiropractic can help people with their injuries.

I was blown away to see just how much goes in to quality care for a patient, and that the most subtle observations can be the keys to solving the problem the patient is dealing with.

I have seen my doctor take a look at a patients walking gait, and within seconds he can see where the problem originates. Not only  that, but he was able to adequately explain to the patient and I what he was seeing, and why it was important to take care of it.

I suppose, on one hand, it was eye-opening because it showed me just how much better I need to get before I graduate, but it also encouraged me to see that I get to work with staff who really know how to care for patients.

As a student who would love to work with athletes in the future, I am thrilled that I am able to get the experience here at school that will help me know how to treat athletes after I graduate.

Joshua Pattengale
8th trimester, Davenport Campus

Helping others in India through Clinic Abroad

In about a month, I will be flying to India with a group of 30 students from Palmer’s three campuses for Clinic Abroad. I have been looking forward to Clinic Abroad since starting Palmer. I always knew it was an experience that I wanted to do, even though it is extra time, effort and money to participate.

My husband was ahead of me in school and went to Brazil in 2010. He had an awesome experience, which made me even more excited. It’s hard to believe that soon I will be going on my trip! What makes it even better is that my husband gets to come, too, as a faculty doctor.

Clinic Abroad is a program offered by Palmer that you can participate in when you are in clinic. During each of the Palmer breaks, students electing to go on the trip travel to one of many locations where a clinic is set up and they adjust thousands of local residents. Most of the people who get treated by the Clinic Abroad interns do not have access to chiropractic care, and some of them do not even have access to medical doctors.

They told our group that is going to India that for some of the people we see, this will be their first trip to a doctor and they may have many things they want us to look at and ask us about. It is hard, because you need to find a balance between helping people the best you can but also being fair to all of the people who come to be treated to see as many of them as possible. People who go on Clinic Abroad say that you learn how to be very efficient and how to have a good flow. You also have the opportunity to fine-tune your skills as a chiropractor.

Soon we are having an event called “Mock Clinic Abroad.” The students who are going on the trip this summer will bring all of our equipment (portable adjusting tables, diagnostic equipment, etc.) and practice doing work-ups on each other. I know that going through everything tomorrow will make it all feel very real. I can’t wait to go to India and have a chance to apply all of the things I’ve learned in school toward improving others’ lives.

Alissa Grover
8th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Need inspiration? Check out these great quotes!

A great way to enhance our learning experience while going through school is to attend seminars. There are many different types of seminars to choose from, and I highly recommend checking some out while going through the Palmer program.

Some of these chiropractic seminars focus on technique and set-ups, where others focus on things like how to run a practice and how to encourage patients.

A seminar I attended a few weeks ago was Dr. James Chestnut’s “Think Well” module in Montreal, Canada. (Dr. Chestnut also has “Eat Well,” “Move Well” and “Chiropractic Paradigm” modules that are a part of his wellness certification program.) Below are some of my favorite quotes from the seminar I attended. I thought that you, our reader, might enjoy them, too:

“Our levels of self-control and integrity are the greatest determinants of our quality of life.”

 “The more often you make a good choice, the easier it becomes to make that good choice. The same goes for bad choices.”

“The small decisions in life are the training ground for the big decisions in life.”

“We’re responsible for what we believe and we can change what we believe at any time.”

“The number of patient visits doesn’t matter. The number of positive patient outcomes does.”

“You must be driven by patient outcomes, not doctor income.”

“I have a reverence for knowledge. We must have a reverence for things; regard them as emotionally important to really soak them in.”

“People need to feel loved, important and appreciated.”

“My wife and I joke around and pretend we are in the movie ‘50 First Dates.’ Each day is a clean slate, and I get to convince my wife to fall in love with me. Every morning is a new chance.”

“I have found that patients who derive pleasure from healthy and congruent lifestyle choices are the healthiest.”

“Nobody else can dictate our emotions.”

“If we’re not sure if something is good for us, we must ask ourselves, ‘is this making my life better?’”

“You can’t stay a victim beyond the attack unless you keep yourself there.”

“Retail therapy has never worked for anyone besides the retailer.”

“We are the ‘address the cause’ paradigm.”

These are just a few of the many great quotes I heard during this two-day seminar. It is definitely worth it to check out Dr. James Chestnut’s seminars. Attending seminars can remind us why we are in school and working hard in order to become great chiropractors!

Kelly Serra
6th trimester student, Davenport Campus

So, what have YOU eaten today?

Recently, in my nutrition class, a 4th trimester course, we kept track of our food intake for three days. We inserted everything we ate, down to the exact amounts, into a website called The website calculated all of the important vitamins, minerals and macronutrient deficiencies that each of us had.

 This assignment was great because now we each know exactly which nutrients we need to focus on in our own diets. It also gave us insight as to what many of our patients will be deficient in, as well. I really enjoyed this activity because it brought to the surface the importance of what we put in our bodies.

Lacey Pletchette
4th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Note to self: Take time for off-campus fun!

These past couple of weeks have been quite interesting. We had a break from our tests (talk about OVERLOAD a few weeks ago), and now we are bracing ourselves for another swing of exams. Studying can get very monotonous, and that is why we should have a life OUTSIDE of Palmer—or at least outside campus.

Recently my wife and I have been doing more activities together, and through this time together we have let the Quad Cities area take root in our hearts. We have been bowling at a local alley with another couple, and we had a blast! And our latest find is a hiking/mountain bike trail that is just minutes away from Davenport! Breanna, my wife, and I got so wound up in the biking that we almost felt like we were in the mountains from where we both grew up, North Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Students that say that there is nothing to do have not been looking in the right places! #1: Winter CAN be dull. It is cold, VERY cold at times, and it may seem long, but do NOT forget! Spring and summer will come! #2: Spring and summer, so far, have been great!

There are many activities in the Quad Cities that draw your attention and gets you excited to be involved. For instance, the Mississippi Valley Fair will be going on during school time in July! There are weekly races at the fairgrounds on Fridays that I *just* found out about because I heard the engines from our house! There are festivals all over the place! And, you can go ice skating all year at the Davenport recreational facility–my wife’s favorite! (For some reason, she likes to see me biff it all the time). The parks around here, for the most part, are beautiful and great places to have a great BBQ. (Oh, the tastes and smells of SUMMERTIME!)

Oh, and I guess I am getting a little excited to have a vacation from school that is coming up. As a matter of fact, I think everyone here at campus is getting a little antsy for the BIG break. It’s only three weeks, but we will utilize those three weeks to the best of our capabilities! Soak it in while you can!

OK, now back to studying. More exams—and more to look forward to!

Anton Keller
2nd trimester student, Davenport Campus

Keeping the end in mind

When I attended my first student council meeting, as the newest and youngest member, I was assured that the three-and-a-third years at Palmer would fly by. The ease in which upper trimester students discussed their path to graduation made it seem as though the next time I turned around, I would be in 10th trimester. Ta-da! I can assure you, I have turned around several times, and I am still in second tri.

Word on the street is that second trimester is one of the most aggressive academically, and this week especially I have truly, truly felt that. I do not doubt my success here at Palmer, but there are times when do I lose sight of my original vision of promoting and providing preventative healthcare.

It is easy to get bogged down in the beginning of this journey by the never-ending flood of core scientific information. However, I am lucky enough to have a handful of doctors in eastern Iowa that recognize the highs and lows of chiropractic school. There times when I am least excited about studying and ask both internally and out loud, “What does this have to do with anything? When will I have to explain this to patient?” It is at times like these that I contact my favorite Palmer graduates and beg to observe in their office.

Watching a practicing doctor verbally and physically integrate the topics I am currently learning (muscle origins and insertions) with the topics I would rather be learning (adjustment techniques, physical therapies), is enough to reignite the spark that encouraged me to pursue chiropractic in the first place. I would like to encourage students in a mental “rut” to contact doctors practicing in the field. However, I would mostly like to express my gratitude to D.C.s who open their doors to students. I am sure that this exchange between students and doctors nurtures the entire profession.

Hannah Anderson
2nd trimester student, Davenport Campus