Looking back on my first year at Palmer (West Campus)

I am finishing up another quarter here in the next couple of weeks, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier it’s almost over. It’s funny, I think I say this every quarter.

Looking back on my first year, I have realized how important Chiropractic is to the health of the human body and how very happy I am that I chose Palmer (West Campus). I have friends attending other schools, and, in fact, I was scheduled to start my Chiro schooling at a school in Texas. Not that I think that school would have been better or worse, just different than here. The kind of friendships that I have made here so far are awesome in the fact that we spend so much time together, there doesn’t seem to be much of another way than to get along with the majority of people. Over this last weekend, we had our school’s Campus Guides host a breakfast fundraiser (pancakes!) at Applebee’s, where we paid a small amount for a breakfast that should have cost way more. It was a lot of fun to hang out with my friends from school and meet their families. This is just one example of many things that our school often does.

– Shawn Larkin, West Campus

Back to the grind

Well its back to the grind with a new trimester underway but this time new classes is actually the last thing on my mind. Now I’m getting ready to take boards for the first time in a couple weeks. It’s still a little over whelming even though everyone says you are going to be fine. I’m really glad that I’m taking the NBS board review because they are such great teachers and really help you understand the information better. The review makes this much less stressful but at the same time how can you not stress at least a little.

Break seemed to go by so quick this time and I didn’t even go anywhere. I guess just not being in class or doing anything makes time go so fast. I suppose knowing I had boards coming up made the week go faster too.  I’m hoping that we start to get some warm weather after boards so I can start doing stuff outside. I’m definitely ready for the depressing cold weather and lack of sunlight to be gone.  Spring and summer couldn’t come quicker. Well I hope the next couple of weeks treats me well. Later.

Ryan Etherton, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Different Perspectives

I think one of the most rewarding things about being a campus guide is the variety of experiences that I receive. Just this last trimester I was able to give tours to individuals from practicing alumni, to our national congressman, to prospective students. It is always interesting to see the different perspectives from the various groups. I love the excitement that I see in prospective students. It reminds me of the excitement and the eager anticipation that I had when I started this program. It also helps lift my spirits if I am having a long day or just received a bad score on a test or practical (not that I ever do).

What is even more encouraging to me is when I see that same eagerness and anticipation from alumni who have been practicing for several years. It is awesome to see chiropractors that have the same love for their profession at the end of their careers as those who are taking the first baby steps towards becoming a chiropractor.

As I prepare to leave the student clinic for the outpatient clinic, I am starting to see tangible ways that chiropractic helps people not only feel better, but it helps them become and remain more active, alive, and free. Stay tuned for stories of patient encounters as I begin to discover my own chiropractic “miracle” stories.

Joe O’Tool, 7th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Halfway mark!!!

I am just about to finish my 5th trimester which marks the completion of the first half of my Palmer education! With that being said, it is very exciting to think that i am half way there, but at the same time a little scary! I mean, in about 6-7 months I will be seeing patients in the Campus Health Center.  When I first started at Palmer I thought that this would never come, but I have to say it has flown by!

Fifth trimester has been a crazy and busy tri, but at the same time I have learned many skills that will be used in future practice. Currently I am taking a class called Physical Diagnosis where I have learned the many skills needed to perform a thorough and efficient physical examination.  With all the practice in class, I have gained confidence in my skills.  This tri I am also taking Cervicals, which has been a great experience.  We have been taught both Gonstead and Diversified techniques for adjusting cervicals.  Along with those two classes, I have NMS Diagnosis which has taught me multiple different tests that can help to better determine patients’ conditions. It is cool to think that I am starting to learn more hands on applications and adjusting techniques this trimester.  I am very much looking forward to what next trimester has to teach me!

Stephanie Tronnes, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

A “halfway done” reflection

Hello faithful blog readers,

Welcome to another fascinatingly fun filled blog from the king of campus guides. As I sat down to write this latest blog, I thought about what’s been on my mind as of late. Being that I am wrapping up fifth trimester here at Palmer I feel that it’s time for a little celebration and reflection.

So here we go….

Let’s celebrate first. I’m hitting a milestone at the end of this trimester and really can’t believe that I am halfway through my time at Palmer. It truly seems like yesterday that I was in the same place that a lot of you are right now. Checking out various colleges, trying to decide which college would be the best fit for me, nervous about starting the program, starting and thinking I’ll never see the end, finishing my first year and thinking how crazy it is that I was a third of the way done, etc. What’s really cool about fifth trimester at Palmer is it’s the trimester where you start some real application of what you have been learning thus far in the classroom and get your hands on some fellow students. In cervicals class you learn all the set ups for Gonstead & Diversified techniques from occiput down to T2. And at the end of the trimester you have the opportunity to work up a student patient, and if they are subluxated, adjust them while your professor is watching (of course). In fact, I had that opportunity today and it was really cool, nerve-racking, but very cool. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and diligent effort over the past year and a half. It was definitely a day that I won’t forget.

Let’s reflect a little. Palmer is, in my humble opinion, the greatest chiropractic college there is. We are where it all started. Each and every day I walk the very halls that D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, Mabel Palmer and many other greats of our profession have walked. I read the quotes of B.J. on the walls and in the halls all over campus. It fills me with pride to feel the greatness that fills every nook of this campus. But don’t think for one moment that Palmer is relegated to the past. We are poised to produce the greatest chiropractors in the coming years. If you haven’t come to campus for a visit and a tour yet, I strongly encourage you to. We are the only college with a Business Development Center that will give you all the tools to run a successful and very fulfilling practice once you graduate. We have an amazing clinic that is gorgeous and
staffed with amazing clinicians who are there ready to prepare you for practice. We have amazing clubs and organizations to enhance and complement your Palmer education. Wow, when I started this paragraph it was to reflect on my time here and look at me just bragging about how great Palmer is and the fact that it’s only getting better.

Well I’m going to wrap this up, my friends. As always if you have any questions please drop me an email, or get in touch with me on Twitter (@kingcampusguides). I hope that your new year is off to an amazing start and that it has nothing but greatness for you in the coming months. All the best to you in your future chiropractic pursuits!

Matt Sharples, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

How do you do it?

People outside of the Palmer community really don’t have any idea of what kind of coursework we take on each trimester, and I find that their new-found understanding is the result of three typical questions. The first question I usually get asked is, “How long are you in school?” My answer of three solid years isn’t that surprising to most people. They will then follow up with, “How much schooling do you have left?” When I reply with, “I’m in my third trimester,” I am met with confused expressions as the person scans my abdomen assuming I’m talking about pregnancy! I quickly add that Palmer is a ten trimester program. (Sometimes I just play that little trick to mess with people!) The third question is along the lines of, “What is your credit load?” The answer to this question is what really shocks people…The average credit load of a Palmer student is right around 28 credits per trimester. (It makes our 15 credit semester in undergrad seem like a day at the beach!) While the credit load is heavy, it is not impossible. Here is what I have learned along the way to help me be successful and still live a balanced life.

1. Plan ahead: You cannot study for exams at Palmer the night before. Well, you probably could, but I would guess you would not be that happy with your grade, and you will be exhausted for the rest of the week with possible other exams.

2. Use a calendar: You will know at the beginning of each trimester the exact dates of all your exams. Reference this frequently!!! Don’t plan a weekend getaway before a week of three exams.

3. Know when it is time to take a break: There are nights when I know that I just need to take the night off from studying. If I tried to force myself to sit down and study, it wouldn’t be productive anyway, so I might as well relax and get a good nights sleep so that I can feel refreshed to study the next day.

4. Do what you love: Every trimester at Palmer so far, I have managed to get out on my bike, hike a trail or two, visit friends and family on a weekend, and read at least one fiction book apart from my studies. These are things that I love to do, and school should not keep me from them. You have to keep investing in relationships; life doesn’t stop when you come to Palmer.

So with that being said, prepare yourself for some hard work ahead, but keep it all in perspective. And strive to live a full life while you are here at Palmer. It’s an exciting ride!

Leah Hetebrueg, 3rd Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

A seminar weekend

This weekend I had an exciting opportunity to attend a free seminar with doctors in the field from Omaha, Nebraska! I went with a fellow Campus Guide friend who is from Fremont, Nebraska, Stacia Kampschnieder. The seminar was very unique because it was held in a small office with many chairs, mimicking how BJ Palmer used to set up talks in his own office. If you have ever toured the mansion, you may remember the room he used to have lots of people come and discuss chiropractic with him in. The place we visited was bought and fixed up by a successful doctor in Omaha and it’s nicknamed “The Source”. He wanted it to be a place of philosophy just like the founders of our profession! It had BJ and DD painted on the walls inside, along with many of BJ’s epigrams that you see around the school!

We got to join the doctors who had been in practice anywhere from 3 to 30 years and listen to their discussions on topics ranging from Caljam, green books, Chestnut wellness, insurance practices, goals in practice, how to explain chiropractic, universal and innate intelligence, success stories and what they do for fun! The list goes on! They even included us in the conversations and asked us questions. It was a really neat experience and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to join Stacia!

That being said, I am happy there are so many learning opportunities, seminars, clubs, and speakers once you arrive here on campus. These are all great ways to supplement our classroom education! We can never be done learning, right?? Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Des Moines are all popular seminar locations as well, and are an easy weekend’s drive away. There are often many events right on campus or in Davenport as well because of the amount of eager Palmer beavers that want to learn! It truly is what you make of it and it is about how much time and effort you can devote to becoming a great chiropractor while you are here. Sleep lots, but spend your waking hours wisely, my friends! I’m trying! Ha, ha!

Kaileigh Strath, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

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