Yeah, it’s break time …

As a Palmer student, I love to learn and I love what I am doing, but I also love my breaks. I think they are so critical to my survival and to the survival of my fellow students. Before I started at Palmer, if I was asked what my favorite holiday was I would have told you Christmas. And while I still love that magic time of year, if you were to ask me today that same question I would now tell you that it is the break we get between spring and fall trimesters. It’s a little over three weeks of complete and utter relaxation. I love it and it is a great time to give my mind a much needed rest. It’s also a great time to visit with friends and family and reenergize my student batteries for the next trimester. I really want to emphasize the need to maximize those breaks so that you can be sure to be the best student you can as you proceed through your Palmer education. So in following my own advice, I am going to wrap this up and go become one with my sofa and watch a good movie. Any suggestions?

-Matt Sharples, 8th trimester, Davenport Campus

No student is an island

No one is an island, but this one wouldn’t be bad for a day.

You may have heard it said that no man (woman) is an island, and I thought that for me. That was never more true than the day I walked through the doors on orientation day at Palmer College back in July of 2010.

I didn’t come from a chiropractic family and had just a sliver of understanding as to what chiropractic truly was and a passion for helping those around me. I felt really alone in a lot of ways, but luckily I had an amazing girlfriend who had made the move with me from Utah. So even though I felt alone, I wasn’t really.

But as 1st trimester began, I quickly found a couple fellow students who lived in the same building with me, and we formed a group that studied together, went to open labs together and stressed out together when exams and practicals came up. We rejoiced with each others successes and shared a shoulder to cry on when things weren’t going our way. Looking back, I really don’t know what I would of done had I not had those close friends.

And as we quickly approach graduation this year, I honestly can tell you that the friendships that I have made will last long beyond graduation on October 18, 2013 (not that I’m counting or anything).

Once you start your chiropractic education, whether it is at Palmer or one of the other schools, I encourage you to find some fellow students and bond together. Forge a friendship to help lighten the load. Becoming a chiropractor is a great journey and will be one of the greatest things you ever do. Best of luck to you in your chiropractic journey and should you have any questions, big or small, please leave a comment.

Take care and have a great day.

-Matt Sharples, 8th trimester, Davenport Campus

Let me offer you some advice …

Wow, how time flies. I just finished 8th trimester, and as I write this, I only have two trimesters left as a Palmer student before I venture out into the real world once again.

So you are reading this and probably think that I just want to brag about where I am and that the road ahead looks so very daunting for you, but honestly that is not the case. It really doesn’t seem that long ago when I was in your very shoes thinking to myself that I will never graduate from Palmer. Well, rest assured, many have done it before you and many will do it after you are sitting right where I am.

I think the best advice that I can give to you is to follow your heart and your passion. Palmer is a great chiropractic college, and I love it with all my heart. But it is not for every single individual desiring to become a chiropractor. I would advise you to trust your gut. I didn’t need to visit every school before I knew where I was to go for my education. I visited Palmer in March of 2010 and knew before I left that it was the perfect fit for me. I would recommend that you start with a visit to Palmer, since we are the Fountainhead of chiropractic and where it all began. We are rich in history and tradition, but we are also preparing for the future of our profession. The college is actively making changes to ensure that they offer the best education for the student body and producing the best chiropractors out there.

If you come to Palmer and don’t feel the immediate click that I did, then look at other colleges. The road to becoming a chiropractor is a long and challenging one, but it is very rewarding. My time here at Palmer has flown by, and I say that with all seriousness.

If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask me, feel free to contact me. And if you find yourself in the Quad Cities anytime soon, drop by the college and lets get you adjusted in the Academic Health Center.

Have a great day and best of luck in your future chiropractic endeavors.

-Matt Sharples, 9th Tri, Davenport Campus

My Palmer career is about to change … clinic!

As I lay in bed tonight, I feel a combination of excitement, nervousness and pure joy. I’m in 7th trimester, and my Palmer career is about to change tomorrow … we have our clinic induction ceremony at 2:50 p.m., and next week we start seeing patients in the Campus Health Center (CHC)! Wow, what an amazing feeling.

I have my outfit all laid out for tomorrow–I decided against a dress and am going with black pants instead. Haha, a few of the girls and I in my class were discussing what to wear to it today!

It is going to be held at Vickie Anne Palmer Hall, where Spizz Night and graduations are held, as well. I know of some classmates who have family coming to watch us be inducted, handed our white coats for clinic and our clinic badges on stage. My family members, however, are not attending this time because the closest one is 12 hours away. Hopefully they can come see us graduate in a year and four months instead.

This week was packed full of observing 8th trimester students in the CHC, a clinical psychology exam, a YMCA Christmas Family fundraiser, a spinography quiz, radiology set-ups, learning how to adjust wrists and deal with carpal tunnel, my roommate’s birthday celebration, yoga, my first adjustment and getting adjusted, making butternut squash soup, and learning how to tell what kind of anemia a patient has from blood work! (Haha, in no particular order.) I can say that my Palmer planner from the Bookstore is definitely keeping me grounded this week and able to sort everything out! Phew.

Seventh trimester is interesting because it is like two different worlds. We still have class from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. with a couple breaks, then clinic in the evenings. We really only are required to be in the clinic two hours in the evening per week, but we are encouraged, and most interns spend more evenings than one in the CHC to pick up patients, gain experience, do paperwork, familiarize themselves with the computer systems and get to know their staff doctors. I really appreciate the help from the 8th trimester students who have held my hand so far and showed me the ropes. I want to pay it forward and help those 6th tri students next trimester when they feel as confused as I did/do (though I must say, things really advanced and made connections in my mind today 🙂 Yay! ) upon entering clinic in 7th tri.

– Kaileigh Strath

Oh, what a tri … I’m in clinic!

Ok, it’s been a couple weeks into the trimester, and I am here to tell you that 8th trimester is where it’s at. After seven trimesters of fairly grueling academic loads, I have been blessed with what is shaping up to be my most favorite trimester so far.

Why do I sing the praises of 8th trimester you ask? Well, let me share with you why I love it so. I now have one trimester in the clinic system down and am feeling a lot more comfortable with seeing patients and working with the clinic paperwork. And now that my nerves are a little more calm, I enjoy clinic more and feel that I am better able to serve my patients more completely.

I can also tell you that my excitement to move over to the Academic Health Center (AHC) is building. I really look forward to being able to interact with patients from the local community. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot yet to be done before graduation on October 18, 2013 (not that I’m counting or anything). I am starting to prepare for the remaining parts of boards and spending a lot more time in the clinic. And, yes, I can’t believe how fast my time here at Palmer has gone by. When you start here, you will here that A LOT and will think that everyone telling you that is slightly off their rockers. But before you know it, you will be starting 8th trimester and reveling in the excitement just as I am.

If you have any questions about Palmer and life as a student here, feel free to contact me via email at I hope you are having a great day and wish you the best in furthering your chiropractic aspirations.

Hopefully I’ll see you on campus before October 18, 2012. 🙂

– Matt Sharpels

Passed Boards and heading to the clinic!

November brings the beginning of a new trimester.  I am now in 8th tri and am thinking I will really enjoy this trimester.  With 8th tri, the class load is decreased so that we can spend more time in the clinics treating patients.  It is going to be really nice to be able to spend more time in the clinic versus the classroom!!

In December we will be allowed to apply for clearance to the AHC (Academic Health Center), meaning that seeing outpatients from the community is not too far away.  I can’t wait!! Also, all the classes this trimester have a practical application to real life practice, which makes them a lot more interesting and easy to pay attention to.

Also, a big weight was lifted off my shoulders two weeks ago when I got my Part II National Boards scores back and passed all of the sections!  That means two parts down and two more boards parts to go!! It makes all the stress and hard studying worth it!

Well, I don’t have too much to say since we have only been back in classes a week, but I am very excited to see what this trimester has to offer!

– Stephanie Tronnes, Davenport Campus


Experience all four seasons in Davenport

A lot of people complain about the weather in Davenport, and having grown up here, I will agree that it has its disadvantages. However, it also has a lot of advantages, too.

I absolutely love the Midwest in the spring. It is my favorite season of the year. The temperatures start to warm up, it’s still a bit cool at night but not too cold, and everything starts to turn green.

My husband and I recently did a lot of gardening around our yard. We planted flowers, bushes, and a vegetable garden. Things grow very easily around here because we get a decent amount of moisture throughout the spring and summer, and our dirt is very rich with nutrients.

My husband grew up in Utah, and if they don’t irrigate daily, things dry up very quickly. This past weekend I was in Dallas for a class, and already the grass that wasn’t being irrigated was starting to turn brown. The grass in Iowa is full, rich and green. If I were a grazing animal, I would be in heaven!

I have been enjoying going running with my dog, through the neighborhoods and on the bike path, and looking at all of the pretty flowers and plant life. This is a good time of year for being outside because the temperatures are so ideal.

During the summer, it can get rather hot in Iowa. It’s not uncommon to get up to 100 degrees–or sometimes higher—during mid-summer, and the humidity makes it seem worse. But things continue to stay pretty and green until late summer and early fall.

Fall is a season of more nice weather and beautiful colors as the trees change, and things start to get cold in November. November through February are the coldest months. It can get bitter-cold in Iowa because of the moisture in the air. We do get snow. We also get ice, which is really more dangerous.

For those who are considering coming to Palmer for three years and wondering what the weather is like, there you are in a nutshell. You get a wide variety of weather, from hot to cold, rain to snow, and everything in between. I think that’s what I like the best about the weather in Iowa: the variety. I love having all four seasons, because there’s always something to look forward to and if you get tired of one season another is just around the corner.

Alissa Grover
8th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Athletes turn to Palmer for care

Recently I have been working in the outpatient clinic at the Academic Health Center during my 8th trimester. There have been numerous athletes coming in to get worked on in the clinic, and I have really enjoyed the learning experience I have gotten from it. My staff doctor has made some great connections at the local gym, and, as a result, the word is spreading among the athletic community that chiropractic can help people with their injuries.

I was blown away to see just how much goes in to quality care for a patient, and that the most subtle observations can be the keys to solving the problem the patient is dealing with.

I have seen my doctor take a look at a patients walking gait, and within seconds he can see where the problem originates. Not only  that, but he was able to adequately explain to the patient and I what he was seeing, and why it was important to take care of it.

I suppose, on one hand, it was eye-opening because it showed me just how much better I need to get before I graduate, but it also encouraged me to see that I get to work with staff who really know how to care for patients.

As a student who would love to work with athletes in the future, I am thrilled that I am able to get the experience here at school that will help me know how to treat athletes after I graduate.

Joshua Pattengale
8th trimester, Davenport Campus

Helping others in India through Clinic Abroad

In about a month, I will be flying to India with a group of 30 students from Palmer’s three campuses for Clinic Abroad. I have been looking forward to Clinic Abroad since starting Palmer. I always knew it was an experience that I wanted to do, even though it is extra time, effort and money to participate.

My husband was ahead of me in school and went to Brazil in 2010. He had an awesome experience, which made me even more excited. It’s hard to believe that soon I will be going on my trip! What makes it even better is that my husband gets to come, too, as a faculty doctor.

Clinic Abroad is a program offered by Palmer that you can participate in when you are in clinic. During each of the Palmer breaks, students electing to go on the trip travel to one of many locations where a clinic is set up and they adjust thousands of local residents. Most of the people who get treated by the Clinic Abroad interns do not have access to chiropractic care, and some of them do not even have access to medical doctors.

They told our group that is going to India that for some of the people we see, this will be their first trip to a doctor and they may have many things they want us to look at and ask us about. It is hard, because you need to find a balance between helping people the best you can but also being fair to all of the people who come to be treated to see as many of them as possible. People who go on Clinic Abroad say that you learn how to be very efficient and how to have a good flow. You also have the opportunity to fine-tune your skills as a chiropractor.

Soon we are having an event called “Mock Clinic Abroad.” The students who are going on the trip this summer will bring all of our equipment (portable adjusting tables, diagnostic equipment, etc.) and practice doing work-ups on each other. I know that going through everything tomorrow will make it all feel very real. I can’t wait to go to India and have a chance to apply all of the things I’ve learned in school toward improving others’ lives.

Alissa Grover
8th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Moving on up—to the AHC

It’s my eighth trimester, and I was just cleared last week to move into the Academic Health Center (AHC), the “big boy clinic,” where we see outpatients, or “real” people, as they are comically referred to.

It’s exciting to share expertise and knowledge with patients who really appreciate the time and advice you have to share. The respect I feel and confidence I have in communicating health advice to them even surprises me sometimes. Hah!

It’s refreshing to turn around and say, “Wow, I guess I really DO know this stuff!” The docs told us in class that “It’ll all come together.” As my chiropractic clinical practice becomes more and more real to me, I find myself appreciating those long hours in lecture, lab and study. It’s all part of the journey! As it is said, “He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”

Vito Spadafino, 8th trimester student
Davenport Campus