Stepping out into the real world

Third quarter has turned out to be the quarter of miscellaneous things, and I mean that in a good way!  In addition to our regular classes, in third quarter we take a CPR course (part of Emergency Procedures) and also go to one of Palmer’s Outreach Clinics to do our first “rounds” (part of our Chiropractic Clinical Evaluation I). Rounds turned out to be a pretty interesting experience, and definitely something to look forward to.

I was in the first group from my class to go to Rounds, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect; all I knew was that we were going to a homeless shelter and would be helping out with taking vitals before the patients saw the student interns for a chiropractic adjustment.  It turned out to be a really valuable and interesting experience, as it was one of my first experiences working with real people (instead of my classmates).  I saw four patients and took their blood pressure and temperature, then performed a few general hearing tests and also tested their vision.  I probably spent about 20 minutes with each patient and the questions they asked really validated some of the points I was learning. One patient and I talked about hearing via bone conduction and how that can differ from air conduction, why that matters, and what it means.  In turn, I learned the turning fork I was using to perform the test is the same type that’s used by some musicians, and it’s in the key of C (fun fact!). One patient had blood pressure that was on the higher side, and was really interested to know what all the numbers meant and what he could do to help make them lower.

Although at first, I was a little concerned about how this extra assignment was going to fit into the busy first couple weeks of the new quarter, I’m really glad it was set up as part of the course. All the patients at the clinic were really nice and appreciated the service we were providing.  For some of these folks, it may be the only health screening they have this year, so it was important to be accurate.  For me, it was a great opportunity to talk about what I was learning with patients and also really helped me get my clinical skills in order.

– Jennifer Nolan, West Campus

Which tri is the hardest?

They say if you can get through second trimester here at Palmer in Davenport that you will be just fine the rest of the way. Well, as much as I hope this is true, I find that a month into third trimester, I am presented with yet another challenging tri.

It is overwhelming to look ahead, but I try to remind myself to take it day by day and remember why I am here. Although I believe this tri will be just as challenging as the first two, I think the one thing I have really learned to do is manage my time and apply myself much more efficiently. I now have much better study skills and much better time management, which allows me to have time to get involved in the fun things that Palmer has to offer.

I am starting to get more involved in the clubs offered on campus as well as attending seminars on weekends. This has allowed me to get more experience in palpation, set ups and X-ray analysis. Surrounding myself around practicing doctors and D.C. students continues to motivate and excite me as I go through this journey here at Palmer.

So each day I try to remind myself that, yes, each tri is going to be challenging in its own sort of way. But if I go into it with the right attitude and always remember why I am here, I can accept the challenge and succeed to the best of my ability.

– Bethany VanKirk, third tri, Davenport Campus

Carpe classes! Take full advantage of your classes

With every new trimester comes a new adventure. It’s always wonderful completing another trimester and getting one step closer towards graduation, but what is even more exciting to me is starting a new trimester with new professors. There is such a wide array of professors, and each has their own experience and specialty. You know that if you truly put the effort in to attend classes and listen to information they are sharing, you will take away a lot of information as well as life’s lessons from that instructor.

We recently had a professor hit home on the importance of coming to class and reminded us of the fact that although the subject may or may not be our favorite, that one class you missed may have pertained to the one fact you really wanted to know about. Our professors make it known they are not here to just read to you from a textbook but to teach how to apply this information now and in your future as a chiropractor.

My first Bix!

Last month, I was able to experience one of the most anticipated events of the summer in the Quad-Cities area—the Bix7 race. Being from the East Coast, I was a newcomer to the Bix.

Each year people from all around the Quad-City area and beyond—even Africa!—gather to run a 7-mile course that is mapped out on the streets of Davenport. From professional runners to people with a passion for running and those who ran or walked just for the experience, around 18,000 people participated in this year’s race.

I was lucky enough to have a friend whose house sits along the middle portion of the course, so I was able to have an up close look at the proceedings. I enjoyed seeing friends run the race and watching all of the different costumes of those who chose to dress up.

In the evening, I also attended the street festival and visited several vendors, all while getting to spend some time with great friends from Palmer. It was a great time, and of course, a nice break from school work!

Jaclyn Andrews
Third trimester student, Davenport Campus

Thoughts on ‘brain vacation,’ homecoming, studying and more

Well, we are about a month into this next trimester, and I am coming to realize that my brain is still on vacation. I sure hope that it decides very soon that it is time to kick it into gear instead of being in La-La Land. Exams are creeping up, and my thoughts are, “Have I really learned enough information to cover a whole exam?”

Well, whether my brain is ready or not, these exams are coming! I need to make the most of my time through studying, reflecting, and associating new things to learn with older topics. Have I done that? Very little.

 How am I supposed to wake up my little brain? Anyone know some brain exercises to bring the brain back to reality— besides flunking an exam? I have learned through experience that flunking an exam definitely will work— I just cannot afford to do that right now!

On a good note, I am excited for my very first Palmer Homecoming. I have seen the schedule, and I wish I could attend every session! Sure, some, if not most, might go over my head due to my lack of foundational knowledge, which will come within the next few years, but it would be quite the experience!

I am excited at the potential of meeting some great alumni from this campus. Hearing their stories, gaining knowledge from their wisdom, and making connections and networks is what I plan to do. This is what chiropractic is about! This is what Palmer is about!

I am glad that I have made the decision to come here and to partake of this grand legacy. It is now my opportunity, and obligation, to add to the legacy and to become a great chiropractor by first becoming a great chiropractic student.

Now onto my “study soap box” to encourage myself—and anyone else who needs it—to study. Off to the books, away from Facebook and other distractions that come my way and steal a little time here and there.

Great is the chiropractor who becomes the doctor who his patients need. And my patients will need a primary-care physician, the “gate-keeper” for better health and wellness. Let us all aim for this: to assist in the betterment of society, one family at a time through one individual at a time!

Anton Keller
3rd 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


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

My Homecoming

Homecoming was such a blast! I went to my first Palmer homecoming last August as a prospective student and it was tons of fun getting to attend this year as an actual Palmer student. Even more so because I was able to interact with the new prospective students – to hang out and share my experience with them, answer their questions, and pass on my enthusiasm as campus guides did for me last summer.

Homecoming festivities started for me on Wednesday with the opportunity to have lunch at Front Street Brewery with a Palmer alumnus from my home state, Washington! Sometimes I feel far from home out here in Iowa so it was exciting and refreshing to be able to spend that time with Dr. Houk, hear about his time as a student in Davenport and the great success he has had since graduating. Something so great about Palmer is the opportunities you have to meet with alumni and learn from their experience and there is no greater place than homecoming to take advantage of that!

I left from lunch at Front Street (which I totally recommend if you are looking for a great place to go out to eat!) to meet up with some friends from my class at the barbeque and talent show in the campus courtyard put on by student council. That was one of mine and my family’s favorite memories from last summer and again, it was fun to be there as a current student, recognize people participating in the talent show, and be able to hang out with all my friends. There was food and snow cones and cotton candy and tons and tons of fun!

The eventful weekend continued into the next morning for the official opening ceremonies of Homecoming 2011. I feel like opening ceremonies are a wonderful time for prospective, current and past students to come together, hear about what is going on in the world of chiropractic and to get re-fired or fired up about our incredible profession. I don’t feel like my excitement for chiropractic fades much, especially getting to be around it every day here at school, but I just LOVE hearing about the research being done to support my passion and the way that chiropractic is reaching the world today.

There is no place I would rather be than a student here at Palmer! I worked for years to get here and homecoming this year was just an affirmation of what I am doing here as a student and hope to be as a future doctor of chiropractic.

Also, if you don’t want to wait to visit Palmer until next Homecoming in August 2012, come to one of our prospective student events. We’re having a big Saturday Campus Visit on November 5. Hope to see you soon!

Devanni Partridge, 3rd Trimester
Davenport Campus

First Homecoming

Well this was the first time I got to attend homecoming here at Palmer and I’ve got to say it was pretty cool.  I don’t know about all you guys but to me homecomings have always been really lame so I wasn’t expecting too much from homecoming here even though I had heard it was sweet.  It was a pleasant surprise and really – pretty fun.  I really loved how we got to attend the seminars along with other doctors from the real world.

The speakers that I got listen to were really interesting and I can’t wait to get to hear new speakers at the next homecoming.  It really gets you excited about being out in practice and helping improve peoples’ lives.  Another interesting thing about homecoming is that you can make connections with doctors out in the field to either visit their practices, call about questions or even line up potential internships or associate-ships with these doctors.

The biggest surprise about homecoming though was the festival on the last night. They had awesome food and deserts.  Not to mention a band that was great and a really cool fireworks show.  I took my wife to the festival and she was impressed as well.  Overall, homecoming is a really cool experience and I look forward to going again next year.

Ryan Etherton, 3rd Trimester
Davenport Campus

A homecoming stand-out

One of the things that stands out in my mind from homecoming is the session on adrenal fatigue from the Dr. Bhogal’s (how do you write that?? Dr. Bhogal and Dr. Bhogal? Mr. And Mrs. Dr. Bhogal? Dr. And Dr. Bhogal? Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Ramneek? Anyway haha)…They were excellent!

They discussed what they do at their practice and how they help people with lifestyle change beyond what we primarily do- adjust. I loved their take on the stress factor in women’s lives and I think they unintentionally made everyone want to come visit their office. They have got it going ON with chiropractic philosophy and in my opinion they would be excellent primary care physicians who I would trust and look up to. They are a couple that both teach here and ironically, I just found out I get Dr. Bhogal for toggle class next trimester and I am extremely excited for that! It will be the first technique I master at Palmer and I will be learning from one of the best teachers at this school! I was also at pediatrics club for the first time today and saw that Dr. Stephanie Bhogal‘s name was on the handout we were given as a reference. I asked if she would be teaching us, what subject, and when, and the club leader responded yes, OBPeds in 6th trimester and I have to say, that added a little skip in my step today despite my extremely tired third-tri-state!

Kaileigh Strath, 3rd Trimester Student
Davenport Campus