All the prep work was worth it for this practical

This morning in physical diagnosis class, we had our first practical. It covered all aspects of taking a thorough case history on a patient. For an entire week, we discussed the importance of taking an extensive case history and all the components of the case history, so that by the time the practical rolled around today, it seemed easy! During the practical, we each took the doctor role and did a complete case history on a patient (upper-trimester students filling in) from memory. It went great, and I am so glad that we got a chance to master this skill before moving onto the next big idea, which will be taking blood pressure and vitals. I feel like I will learn a lot in this class!

Lacey Pletchette, 5th 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

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

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

What a busy week it was!

Whoa! Last week was a busy one!

I am not sure I was prepared for what last week had in store! I got to bed late last Sunday night because I was studying—not because I had to put in the hours like for Spinal Anatomy, but because I had procrastinated again, which doesn’t help me go into a busy week feeling refreshed. Oops!

I looked at my schedule and wondered when I would fit yoga in this week. Then I started to feel a little bit of a sickness coming on—a sore throat and runny nose.  I know exactly why I got sick. I had eaten well, gotten adjusted and exercised, but did I get enough sleep? Did I plan enough quiet time? or was I go-go-go the previous week and weekend? Yep, you guessed it.

I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite when I get sick at Palmer. I’m supposed to be WELL! I want to be a wellness doctor and a wellness advocate, and I believe the first and best thing to do is lead by example.  I am still learning!

First thing Monday morning was our first physiotherapy exam. I had a really good feeling afterward, so my head started to feel better too. Funny how that works, isn’t it? We had class the rest of the day until 3:45, and I headed to a meeting at 5, then to my 6:30 adjustment because I wanted to allow 100 percent functioning of my nervous system for the rest of my busy week!

After that, I headed home to study radiology. I stayed up fairly late again and ended up talking to a friend from home on the phone late as well. Why did I do that before a test?

The next morning our test was at 8:25 and I studied throughout my 7:30 class, but half listened. Sorry Dr. Rowell, I don’t like it when I do that, either! My radiology test did not go as well as PT the day before. Sad.

I went for a nap to sleep it off and get ready for the rest of the day. Then I woke up and studied for a quiz in physical diagnosis at 12:05. I felt ready. It went well! Phew, back on track. Three more classes: cervicals and NMS and PT lab.

After class I headed to my locker to meet my friend for a birthday surprise! I and 3 others took her out for a nice Italian meal. We scurried home afterward to study Toxicology for Wednesday morning. I figured out the best sleep-to-study ratio for me, given the time I had, and then I followed through.

It was tough to wake up at 5:30, but I did it! I was still feeling sick and couldn’t wait until Thursday at 3:45—when my weekend would begin.  Off to class, waiting for the 9:20 hour when our test began! When it was over, I felt good about it, as well, and felt a sense of accomplishment. “Only one more quiz to go this week, Kaileigh! You can do it!” I told myself.

We continued with the rest of our classes, and after school we had wellness club. Dr. Barber came in and talked about a bunch of wonderful ideas she had been brainstorming with about what to bring to campus. She had a certain PowerPoint slide that sticks in my mind about the six aspects of wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, environmental and social wellness. This club meeting helped me reflect on my week. I needed to step it up in the spiritual wellness and the social wellness, and his meeting helped me make a clear decision.

I cancelled my plans for Easter weekend of going back to Canada and decided to stay in Davenport for four whole days with very little planned to nurse myself back to complete wellness. Wow, did it feel good!  After tutoring and working on my toxicology project with my friend, Devanni, I went out for a drink and karaoke with my roommate and my friends from my tri that night and laughed and had so much fun. (Social wellness!)

Thursday was the last day of school before Easter break. I did awful on my NMS quiz, and I should have studied more. But I couldn’t have felt better at 3:45 Thursday! Time to heal!

As I write this, it is just Saturday, and I have been to yoga twice and slept lots. I already feel like my battery has been recharged. (And I have two more full days stil!! Yay!)

As busy as the weeks can be at Palmer, I freaking love it here! It really is a time for personal growth and figuring out who you really are. I am the type of person who plans lots and wants to do more than I can handle sometimes (as you can probably see) but I am still learning to say “no” and to manage my time. I think it will always be a challenge, but I like challenges. That’s what makes us BETTER, right?!

“Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” I forget who said that quote, but I encourage you to try saying it to yourself everyday and see what happens!

Here’s to wonderful experiences at Palmer and getting to know amazing people and YOURSELF while you’re here. Don’t forget: YOU are AMAZING! 🙂

Kaleigh Strath, 5th trimester student
Davenport Campus

There’s so much to love about fifth tri

Wow! A new trimester is upon us and I can feel the buzz of excitement in the halls at Palmer. It is always a refreshing place after everyone has had a break, and students are diving into new clubs and speakers and meetings! You can never possibly be bored here.

Boards are about to be taken by many, myself not included, for I will be taking Canadian boards sometime next year. It is the first time my classmates will take part 1 boards, and I can usually hear someone discussing their panic attacks, explaining concepts, making up silly mnemonics, or something of the like in between classes.

I took the NBS board review with my friends last tri to stay ahead of the game. That was before I knew I would not be taking American boards, but over break I took the board review again for $25! Steal of a deal for lots of fun with Dr. Laura. She is quite the animated teacher and she can really shine a light on all of that first year info and even make learning fun! I’m kind of a nerd … if you haven’t guessed. Haha!

So we just entered fifth trimester and wow! I can’t even tell those of you who haven’t experienced it yet how DIFFERENT it is from fourth tri! We get to participate and not sit as much in class!

We are learning the basics of physical therapy with Dr. Rowell, which I am excited for, coming from a sports background. We have already learned some about preventing sports injuries and rehabilitation! We even have a lab for it to practice exercises and sketches to show our future patients.

 Then we have radiology two with Dr. Firth, where we continue to increase our skills at looking at an x-ray and differentiating between normal and pathological conditions, and gaining knowledge about how cancer can present in the bones on a film.

 Then we have toxicology class with Dr. Nightingale, which is very interesting! We get to go over how the medications may be interacting in many of our patients’ digestive systems, at what limits they can be lethal, and conditions when drugs may be useful.

 At 10:15 we have Dr. Torgurud again. We have not seen him since CNS class in first tri! He teaches us biomechanics, which is all about the technicalities and a little physics of the adjustment, stability and posture! We then have lunch! Yay for lunch break!

 At 12:05 we begin physical diagnosis with Littrell. What an amazing teacher! We have discussions in class, and she encourages us to put together info from all the past few tris to come up with differential diagnoses in the first week of class!

 I just purchased my diagnostic equipment today, and I can’t wait to be able to listen to heart and lung sounds, take a proper blood pressure, and use my new beautiful panoptic oto-opthalmoscope to decipher whether or not any ear or eye problems exist!

 Then we get into cervicals class! Aha! Chiropractic, hands-on! We have already covered leg checks and some film analysis with the sweetest teacher who has been a chiro for many years. Today I already analyzed my own cervical films and came up with listings!! So neat!

 The last class of the day is NMS, where we will be learning other diagnostic skills to test the nerve pathways in the body. Today I felt like a doctor in practice already because we got to take patient histories and practice a clinical setting as if someone was in a new patient visit with me and I was finding out about them! I know I am going to leave this tri with great skills for my practice! It is so great.

Cheers to all of you Palmer students ahead of me, to all Palmer grads out there who are rocking it in practice, and to all of you future Palmer students who have yet to experience fifth tri! It’s a gooder!

Kaileigh Strath, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Beginning to think like a doctor

Hello again! I just completed fourth trimester and I am now beginning the fifth one. I must say, I am excited for this trimester. Instead of feeling like I am sitting in all of my classes and getting “lectured at” (as I felt in some of the basic science classes). I can tell that my professors are encouraging us to engage and interact more.

For example, in my physical diagnosis class, our teacher was doing a mock patient history in which she was the patient and our class had to do a hypothetical case history on her. We were taught the “18 HPI” questions, which basically allow us to gather information about what
brings the patient in that day, and were able to use them in a mock setting. Based on what my classmates and I asked her and what her response was as the patient, we had to try and figure out what her diagnosis was.

Our professor pretended that she had amenorrhea (absence of her menstrual cycle) for four months, blurry vision, headaches and other symptoms. It was up to our class to put the pieces together and figure out that this patient could potentially have a pituitary tumor, also known as an adenoma. This exercise was a neat way to demonstrate how we can gather certain information while taking a patient’s history and put that information together in order to figure out what is  going onwith them.

Another example of a class being more interactive than those in previous trimesters was my Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal class. Our professor put us on the spot and asked, “Front row, which segmental levels are correlated with the biceps muscle?” We all could sense the pressure of him looking for one of us to answer and I blurted out “C5/C6.” I was nervous that my answer wasn’t correct, but thank goodness it ended up being right! I didn’t know how exactly I remembered the correct answer, but it felt good to be asked to think on the spot. At this point in the curriculum, we have learned an abundance of material and I am looking forward to applying a lot of that knowledge in more of a clinical setting now.

Kelly Serra, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Planning for boards? Take this advice

I hope you all had a great break—at least better than mine. I spent most of the time studying for the National Boards Exam part I, and it definitely wasn’t entertaining.

The Part I board exam consists of 6 topics: Spinal and Gross Anatomy, Chemistry, Physiology, Pathology, and Microbiology. It pretty much contains all the things that we have learned throughout 1st to 4th trimesters. This is a good opportunity to review all the materials that we have gone through and to remind ourselves about the “basic” knowledge that we are expected to know as doctors. It is painful to study these all over again, but it sure did help me to go through most of the information that we have been taught at Palmer for 4 trimesters.

I am not taking any review classes but am just studying off from my old notes and a book called “Chiro Essentials” from the Bookstore from Palmer, which I hope to be sufficient. For those of you who have never taken Boards, I would recommend to find out the due dates for registering during your 3rd or the beginning of your 4th trimester—and keep on track on what you need to do to register for the exam.

There are a couple steps that you need to follow in order to successfully register yourself to take the NBCE. You need to take a passport photo, get a money order, register online, and, finally, register on the 4th floor of the Campus Center. Hopefully this information was helpful. I wish all of you the best of luck both for Board exams and this new trimester!

Yoon Mi (Lisa) Kim, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport 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