Inspiration and affirmation: I am a chiropractor!

Recently I was able to attend a seminar in Chicago. It wasn’t a technique seminar. It was a seminar geared toward business development and effective communication of chiropractic philosophy. It is a day that has shaped my career, and I am fired up after being immersed in such an intoxicating chiropractic setting!

I think sometimes we make chiropractic philosophy way more difficult than it really is. There was a simple illustration given: “All horses have 4 legs. Big Red is a horse. Therefore, Big Red has 4 legs.” No one would argue with this sequence of logic. Now let’s relate the same logic to chiropractic: “Our bodies are self-healing, self-regulating organisms. The nervous system is the most important system in transmitting self-healing, self-regulating energy in the body. Therefore, if there is interference in nervous system flow, life-force/energy is impeded, and the body cannot function at 100%.” Isn’t that simple?! This is just one easy example that can be used with patients. Obviously, educating our patients in chiropractic philosophy is an ongoing endeavor.

There was also a presentation that encouraged doctors to look for contradictions in their philosophy. Philosophical contradictions result in self-made limitations. If we market our practice as “back and neck pain” care, that is all we can expect to walk through our doors, but if we educate our patients on the vitalistic  power of chiropractic, and commit unwaveringly to the chiropractic philosophy, we can continue to advance this distinct and special form of healthcare.

 I was really moved by the doctors we met at the seminar. They were all so passionate about the power of chiropractic. (One doctor shared a story of how his son was declared blind in both eyes after an accident involving fireworks, and after adjusting the C1 vertebra every hour for days, his son’s vision was restored!) These doctors expressed interest in my future as a doctor of chiropractic, and they were willing to be transparent and open as they shared about their own private practices. I hope you can meet and surround yourself with positive chiropractic mentors as well.

 All in all, it was a great seminar. It was one of those days where I sat listening to the presentations, and I thought to myself, “This is exactly what I want to be doing! I am a chiropractor!”

Leah Hetebrueg, 4th trimester student
Davenport Campus

Taking a closer look

This week I did my clinical observations! Since I am in 6th tri, we follow around the students who are in the student clinic adjusting since my class will be in there next tri starting to adjust—which I am extremely excited for! On my clinical observations I had an interesting experience.  I watched 8 adjustments, and I had an experience I want to share with you.

So the first few adjustments were like typical ones I have been exposed to, where the doctor feels your spine through your shirt and delivers the adjustment through the shirt.  Well, the one student intern I followed did it much different!  This student intern put the patients in a gown, examined the skin, measured the heat difference of the spine from left to right, looked for changes in the texture of the skin, looking for slight changes in the muscle tone, and feeling for joint restriction.  I was absolutely amazed because I had never seen such a thorough exam.  I know there are a TON of different techniques, but this really made sense to me.

As chiropractors we remove subluxations. Well, as a doctor or student intern how do you know if you have found a subluxation? By a restricted joint alone?  Well if we remove subluxations, which cause nerve interference, how is it that that the only finding would be joint fixation?

If a subluxation interferes with the mental impulses from the brain to the body, or body to the brain, isn’t there a way to measure or detect this nervous system interference?  I think so!

If subluxations affect the nervous system and keep it from functioning at 100 percent, then it is our job as chiropractors to solve the mystery of where and how the nervous system has decreased function.  From my clinical observation, I saw how the body can leave subtle clues!

If the physiology is altered, it can causes changes in the skin: such as color change, a skin blemish, patch of greasy or dry skin, swelling, hot or cool patches of skin, muscle tightness or fatigue, and altered motion in the joint.

This makes what we do a bit more challenging, but a whole lot more exciting!  It is neat to see how the highly specific adjustments we deliver to remove a subluxation can alter the human physiology from the outside. Now, just IMAGINE what is going on inside the body!

Chiropractic is an amazing thing. Never doubt the power the body possesses to heal itself if the interference is removed. From this experience in the clinic, I discovered how important it is to be as specific as I can.

I feel that it would be an injustice to my patient if I didn’t take a few extra moments to examine their external physiology.

One of my favorite epigrams on campus that reminds me of this topic is “Chiropractic is specific, or it is nothing!” So my challenge to you is, whatever you choose to do, be specific, and be the best you can be! 

Stacia Kampenschneider, 6th trimester student
Davenport Campus

‘Summer Camp’ for chiropractors

“Palmer is like a summer camp for people our age. We are a bunch of strangers from all over the country that picked up and moved to Davenport for one common goal,” said my friend from New Mexico. As we were sunning at a park that overlooks the Mississippi River, my friend from New Mexico, my friend from Montana and myself, a New Jersey native, were thinking about this concept.

We reminisced about going to summer camps when we were younger and how neat it was to meet people from other areas of the states or regions we were from. The three of us then related this to how we are essentially doing the same thing now, but on a greater scale.

We realized how cool it is that we are from all different areas of the country, but have a lot of similar experiences, goals and interests. How cool is it that we have the opportunity to converge with people from all over while working hard towards the same goal of becoming the best doctors we can be? Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to say they have done something like this in their lifetime.

It takes a lot to leave friends and family behind at home while embarking on the journey of chiropractic school, but ultimately it is worth the time spent here. Someday when we are out in the field, helping many patients, it will be well worth all of our time at Palmer. We are currently living right where chiropractic began and right where many of the best chiropractors went to school. When we graduate and say, “I went to Palmer in Davenport” everyone will think, “Wow, you picked up and moved to Iowa to learn from the best.”

While we spend our time here at Palmer, it is important to learn not only from our professors but also from our peers. As we have these few years together, we spend a lot of time with each other in classes, while studying, and while enjoying time off. During all of these moments, we must soak it all in and teach each other about our experiences as well as learn from what others have experienced. Palmer is a great “extended summer camp,” and I’m so glad that I am fortunate enough to be here.

Kelly Serra, 6th trimester student
Davenport Campus

A typical, beautiful Friday

Hey-o! As I write this, it’s a beautiful Friday afternoon, and the sun is shining. I am typing this blog via my HTC Android as I sit in the sun outside of West Hall by Main Street. I can hear the sound of some amazing drummers practicing at Central High School across the street.

I got up this morning and checked my phone as I usually do. I had received an e-mail from my friend with a YouTube video on how to cook a delicious looking vegan meal. Yum, now I’m more inspired to make healthy food for my day! I showered and got ready, dressing in clinic attire today because I have my Vogt (student leaders) meeting and a physical diagnosis practical.

I sat at my computer and finished typing and printing an essay I was working on last night for a scholarship application. No surprise, they are due ASAP, and I am finishing them up the morning of!

I quickly printed them and left the house with my yoga mat and saw and smelled that my roommate’s friend, who is staying at our place right now, had made Apple Crisp! It smelled delightful, so I told her she was amazing a rushed to school for my 9:20 meeting. I was three minutes late today! Shoot. But my scholarship applications were all printed and ready for club leaders to sign.

Our meeting topic was good today; we discussed professionalism in class and being present. Staying off cell phones, respecting the professor’s time, and respecting classmates and teacher’s questions and lectures are a few things that can be easy to lose sight of halfway through the program, when everyone becomes comfortable.

I will admit to having been late for class on more than one occasion this tri, and I have answered texts and e-mails when I really should have been paying attention. Even in yoga, they are teaching me to be more present and focus on one task at a time to be more productive. I am getting better, and the meeting was a great reminder today.

We hope to convey the message via a video to all students and encourage mutual respect in the classroom. We are very good for the most part, but a reminder at this time in the program would be nice for all, I think.

After that, I got some signatures for my scholarship applications from executive committees of the Nucca club, the Gonstead club, and Campus Guides.

I then headed to meet Kelly Serra (fellow Campus guide and classmate) to practice for our Phys Di practical. It was 30 minutes each and we had to cover everything from palpation of lymph nodes, to looking into eyes and ears, to palpation of the abdomen. It is a very thorough exam, and Dr. Littrell has helped us feel confident for clinic and Part 4 Boards in that area. We both practiced once through, and then took our exams and got perfect scores! How exciting!

Kelly and I headed to the library to print off forms to apply for our lab hours for next tri. I signed up for PT lab at 3:45 on Wednesdays. Should work for me! That is the last lab I will take at Palmer!

Then we headed for the cafeteria because we were both hungry. It was closed at 1:30, whoops! Just missed it! Second choice, we went upstairs to Starbucks, and Kelly got a delicious looking, fresh-made wrap.

I decided to go to Greatest Grains (GG), a nearby health food store with a deli, because I didn’t have NMS class with her right away. Mine was at 2:50.  I ran up to the financial aid department on third floor in the student services building and handed in my scholarship applications. Phew, it was done! Now it is “wait and see”!

I went to GG and got some kale salad, brussels sprouts and a couscous salad. Yum!  I came back to school at 2:50 for my last class of the day, NMS. We practiced a few of the orthopedic exams we will have to perform on Monday for our final practical. Normally we have more classes on Fridays but a few are done already for the tri!

Now I’m off to yoga with Stacia at four and off for the weekend! Seriously can’t believe it is Friday again already Peace y’all!

Kaleigh Strath, 5th trimester student
Davenport Campus

On Rainy Days

There was a period of about 10 days last month where Davenport did not see sunny clear skies. The forecast was the same every day: rain. I’m a pretty active person, so this started to feel a little unbearable. Normally, on a rainy day, I love to read or watch a movie, and with the price of a movie rental at Redbox, you can’t go wrong! Granted, I still had a fair amount of studying to do outside of the school day.

But during this rainy streak, I discovered a “hidden treasure:” the audio/visual collection at the Palmer library! You may be thinking that I must not spend much time in the library if I didn’t know about this sooner, but the truth is I have spent SO much time in the library studying for exams, that I didn’t take the time to explore the rich resources it has to offer!

The audio/visual collection houses recorded lectures and myriad videos on technique, anatomy, and presentations by some of our professions best. I’m sorry that I did not take advantage of this sooner.

A Palmer education equips students to be great doctors of chiropractic, but there are so many resources beyond the classroom that we can take advantage of. Now I have discovered that I do not have to look very far to find them!

Leah Hetebrueg
4th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Thoughts on lab practicals, T-shirts, personal challenge and more

Well, with finals and lab practicals literally on my own doorstep, I would be lying a little if I said I was not stressed out. I am a little. OK, more than a little. This just means that I am putting my studying mind to full-throttle and pray for the best!

Lab practicals this time around involve identifying “landmarks” on particular parts of the skeleton, identifying organs, vessels, nerves, and other tissues on cadavers—oh, and many muscles that are on cadavers. One would think that studying on cadavers would be weird—and it is for the first little while —but then you get used to it. I have had to separate myself from the specimens and think of the cadavers as just that: specimens.

A living billboard? Sure!

On a different topic, I lately have been having some random thoughts about people wearing shirts with spines on them—Palmer gear and other things like that.

Up until a few days ago I would feel weird wearing it. I am not sure why. But now, looking back at how much time I am spending on learning these fantastic bodies of ours, I feel like, “Give me a spine shirt, or a Palmer shirt to wear proudly during any day of the year.!” I know this stuff well enough to bore people with the little details that we need to know as chiropractors!

 So, yes, I am catching the fever. I’m wanting to spread the good news of chiropractic, spinal health, and knowledge!Maybe I will be able to do that during our upcoming summer break.

How many people will I be able to convince that their lives would be better if they saw a chiropractor? How many people will each student come into contact with that may be a future chiropractic patient? Everyone whom we contact who is not already one!

So, here is the challenge that I now have put upon myself: To be a living billboard for chiropractic care. “So let it be written. So let it be done!” ”

Anton Keller
2nd trimester student, Davenport Campus

Palmer students learn to ‘walk the talk’

On Palmer’s Davenport Campus, there are quotes everywhere. Not just the epigrams by B.J. Palmer, but from other doctors, as well. I thought I had seen and read every single one, but today I noticed one which I hadn’t before. It said something along the lines of, “It is important that a patient knows that the doctor is taking his own advice.”

This has popped in and out of my head all day as I sit next to my fellow students, and as I walk in the halls. I have been privileged to receive treatment from several doctors who I know take their own advice. It is difficult as a patient to “eat plenty of vegetables” and “get 8 hours of sleep” if you notice your adviser at a fast food restaurant several times each week.

As a newbie here at Palmer, there are several students in my trimester, and the other earlier trimesters, that carry their bad habits with them into class. It is easy to distinguish an upper trimester student from a lower trimester student, not only by the way they dress (upper trimester students are in the clinic throughout the day, and therefore wear clinic appropriate dress attire), but also by the lack of energy drinks and junk food. Obviously chiropractic is about promoting health, and health does not include chewing tobacco, energy drinks, and sugar-filled sodas.

 As an outsider, not yet completely changed by the Palmer education, it is evident that the knowledge supplied at this school has the ability to change patients into doctors as students progress through life at Palmer.

 Hannah Anderson
2nd trimester student, Davenport Campus

Connecting with kids through chiropractic

When I blogged last, I had just completed my first observation in the Campus Health Center. Shortly after that I had my second observation in the clinic. In the clinic, I am under a staff doctor who focuses on treating children, and this observation was one of my first experiences with children and chiropractic.

It was amazing to see how small children respond to adjustments and how the different techniques are adapted for small children. This experience gave me a new look at all the benefits of chiropractic. Of course I knew that children would benefit from chiropractic, and that it is just as important for them to be subluxation-free, but to see it all in person made it more real.

It was also really awesome to see the interaction of the different interns and my staff doctor with the children. Both the doctor and the interns amazed me with their patience and ability to connect with the children. I was excited to get into clinic before this experience, but this made me that much more excited about starting to see patients. It also made me really look forward to the opportunity to work with a great staff doctor and the children that are under her care. 

 Stephanie Tronnes
6th trimester student, Davenport Campus

As the craziness of sixth trimester comes to a close …

Well it’s that time of the tri again. Finals are only a week away, and classes are winding down. I have to say, sixth tri has been like a marathon: a run that just kept going and going. I learned a lot this tri, prepared myself as best I could to enter clinic next trimester, and had some fun along the way.

However, with all the craziness of sixth trimester, I can honestly say I can’t wait for break to get here! I finally get to go home to Arizona and have three full weeks to relax and hang out with friends and family! I think a nice long break will help me rejuvenate and get excited for seventh trimester, which will be full of events!

Homecoming is next trimester, and that is always a blast! So many fantastic speakers, a prospective student event, and an awesome party to top it all off. Another event that is not as much fun is boards, but it’s one of those things that we all have to step up and do. But once boards are over with, I get to have three fun-filled weekends of seminars and travel from Kansas City to Chicago and meet some amazing new people and learn from great doctors. So even with all the stress of a full schedule and entering clinic, there will be so many fun moments to look forward to.

 Kaitlin Bowen
6th trimester student, Davenport Campus

It’s summer vacation time

Well, summer break is right around the corner, and I can’t wait to get out and shadow a few doctors back home. I think that shadowing is such an awesome experience because it helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps see the love for chiropractic that the doctors still have and how they are truly benefiting the community. It also gives you a great perspective on how you may or may not want to run your practice some day. I definitely look forward to meeting with these doctors and getting advice from them to help me better prepare myself for the future.

Of course, when I go back home, I look forward to seeing my family and friends and getting outdoors for some fishing and boating. Then when it’s time to come back to school, I get to look forward to homecoming, which is going to be a blast. Well, until next time! God bless.

Ryan Etherton
5th trimester student, Davenport Campus