I took off school for the whole week of Thanksgiving to go shadow offices. I have shadowed quite a few offices already, but I still don’t know what I want to do when I graduate. And graduation is only seven months away. Well, I’m getting more ideas of what I think I want to do.
Over Thanksgiving week, I was at one office Monday and one office Tuesday. I have learned so many new things while shadowing. You get the opportunity to see new techniques, different ways to evaluate patients, different paperwork, and different ways to run an office. The doctors are all very helpful about different hardships they have had while running their office. Seeing how different people practice has given me the opportunity to see who I may want to shadow next trimester.
Precepting is very similar to an internship at other colleges. During your last trimester at Palmer, you get the opportunity to go into an office and work under the doctor.
The regulations for each state determine what you are able to do while at the office. The doctors do not have to pay the interns, unless they choose. Each state has different requirements needed, if you can even precept with the doctor you want to. It can be difficult to find an office to precept with that you mesh well with and feel like you can spend 20 hours a week with. My deadline is quickly approaching and I haven’t found one that qualifies yet. I have found a few that would be fun, but don’t meet the Iowa qualifications.
Thanksgiving break was a nice relaxing time at home with friends and family, although the break goes by too fast. Even though I love learning more about chiropractic and techniques, getting a four-day weekend is amazing sometimes. Everybody just needs a few days off to relax and catch up.
Last year I stayed in the Quad Cities. It was very different for me, because there were three of us celebrating Thanksgiving together. It was fun because we all got along, but I’m used to 40 or so people all hanging out and catching up. But the three of us made great food and enjoyed the day.
I was happy to go home this year and see family, because I hadn’t been home since June. It’s always nice to get away and not have to think about the next thing you have to do at school. Seeing all of my family, especially my godsons, was a lot of fun. I was able to watch my godsons, who are growing far too fast. Spending time with family is great when you are not able to see them very often.
While on my Clinic Abroad trip to Salvador, Brazil, we spent five days in a make-shift clinic at a hospital. The first day and a half were slow. Mid-day the first day, two news crews came and talked to the lead doctors. We ended up on Brazil’s news. The clips aired on our second day over the lunch hour. The clinic was super busy from then on. When we arrived at the clinic each day thereafter, there were usually 50-100 people waiting for us.
We all got to see many patients with many different conditions. I learned how to read spinal MRIs quite well.
Many people in Salvador had hypertension. It was a common condition to people of all ages. It was fun to adjust different people in many different ways. The hardest part of the clinic experience was getting the patients to relax. They didn’t quite understand what they were supposed to do.
There were people of all ages with different conditions in clinic so we were able to learn about many conditions. The elderly all had osteoporosis, so I mainly used activator and drops on those patients.
The doctors on the trip were also good at showing new or different techniques to help the patient in different ways based on their condition or different ways they could be placed.
My first full physical in the clinic was awful. I love my patient, because they worked through it and came back for their next appointment. This day was when I learned that my mind goes completely blank when I get nervous.
I took her pulse about four times, because every time I went to write it down, I couldn’t remember what it was. Needless to say, that was a small matter of how much I forgot in that one appointment. The patient must have been thinking “How did this girl get this far?” but I really do know the orthopedic and neurological tests and how to perform them!
After you do certain parts of the physical, you go talk to your staff doctor and then come back to do other things based on the results of the first stuff. I left the exam room red and sweating like crazy because I felt like a complete idiot. I was able to work my way through my exam and get all the information I needed to diagnose the patient.
After the patient was done and had left, the doctor asked me why I was so red and sweaty. I explained what happened, and she just smiled and said “It can only get better.” This was definitely true. Everything has gotten better. I have become more confident, and I don’t let my nervousness get to me anymore. I mentally tell myself, “You know more than the patient, and they won’t know if you mess up.”
I have become very efficient and effective at doing physical exams the more times I have to do them. Thank goodness!
My first patient in the Campus Health Center was very interesting. The prior intern was still in the room, which was helpful but also more nerve-wracking. I didn’t want to do or say anything wrong, even though everyone does things a little bit differently. The patient was understanding because I went a little slower and asked the previous intern a lot of questions.
Before the appointment, I thought I understood how to use the paperwork and what needed to be filled in, but at the appointment I was lost. The previous intern showed me easier ways to do things, and I became very efficient. The adjusting portion went very well for me, though. I hoped I had redeemed myself with my patient and that she would return for her next appointment. After the appointment, we rescheduled for a few weeks later, and she left. The previous intern stuck around and helped me with all of the computer work. I learned easier ways to type the notes and make sure they were placed in the correct file. I realized how much I knew and how much I forget when I get nervous. The upper trimester students are always a great help.
By the way, my patient did return and stayed my patient for my entire stay in the Campus Health Center!
Over the October break at the Davenport Campus, I had the opportunity to travel to Salvador, Brazil, for Clinic Abroad. It was nice to spend a few days on the beach upon arrival. But the whole group had a real wake up call on Saturday at the orphanage. The orphanage in Salvador is different than ones I have ever heard about in the USA. The people in the orphanage all have a physical or mental disability, so their parents or guardians just drop them off at the gates to this clinic. The workers take care of the kids for their whole lives pretty much. Most are dropped off as infants or toddlers. The orphanage doesn’t get government assistance, as far as we know, so it is all by donation.
It was great to be able to help all of the kids and adults that don’t get very much attention or personal touch. The whole orphanage was very grateful for our donations and chiropractic care. It was very heartfelt because the kids were all very nice and wanted to help any way they could. It was also noticeable that many of them weren’t getting a personal touch or the attention they wanted and needed. It was a big reminder to everyone of all we can be thankful for in our lives. It was great to have the opportunity to help the kids, who in my opinion, needed the care the most.
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
Now that we’re really into the trimester, classes are starting to get more in depth. This tri is full of breaks but I am still undecided if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s nice to have breaks during the trimester to get your head on straight and see family for a little while. It’s also hard to keep focused on classes and tests that you have after break. Last year was my first time having winter break be a break and not the end of a semester. It was something to get use to that was for sure. I learned to manage my time between family and friends and studying a little as well. It seemed to work out quite well.
Now that I am in my 6th trimester, I am getting more hands on with technique courses. It is exciting and scary to know that next trimester I enter into the student clinic. There are days when I feel like I know what I am doing so then it’s an exciting day. Other days I feel like I have no idea what is going on; which worries me about having to treat patients in about three or four months. I know by the end of this trimester my teachers will have prepared me to the best of their abilities to see patients. When I started Palmer I felt as though I would never get into the clinic as an intern. I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s approaching too quickly. The unknown can be exciting. Clinic is the true test of how much I have absorbed during my classes so far.
Ahh… Boards time is approaching faster than I wish! Part 1 boards are only a few days away. My stress level is starting to rise. I am getting nervous because this is the first time I have had to take a test like this. Although I studied quite a bit over summer break, I do not feel as though I have studied enough to this point. Time management is getting harder for me because I can’t say “no” to anything and I don’t leave enough time for myself.
I am learning that I must dedicate certain times everyday to things that need to be done. Studying for classes and trying to study for boards while working part time and being involved on campus has led me to believe I may have bit off more than I can chew. The classes at school prepare you well for boards but it is trying to find those facts in your head is difficult. Board reviews are available to those who wish to use them based on their learning style.
I decided to not take the board review because I learn better on my own. Keeping my stress level down until boards are over is difficult. I can’t let the nervousness get to me or all my grades would go down because of it.