Clinic experience: Patient physicals

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!

– Christa Scheffler, Davenport Campus

My first clinic patient!

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!

– Christa Scheffler, Davenport Campus

Start of Seventh Trimester!

Today is Friday … ahhh Friday. I am sitting in the third floor library after finishing extremities class with Dr. Lipes. The first week is complete, and it went pretty well. I feel a sense of wonder as the new tri starts because I am excited to see what seventh trimester and entering clinic in a few weeks will bring about. I have been warned by many upper tri students and teachers to get organized and stay on top of things this trimester as early as possible, because it ends up being a busy one. It will be a challenge to our time management skills, just like first trimester was.

I was sitting in Visceral Diagnosis class with Dr. Tatum today, and my mind wandered for a second (ok, more than a second), and I was thinking about how much this trimester feels like first again to me. The key is having the right focus and mental attitude that it can be done and that this is where I want to be. The focus is on Palmer. The focus is with my teachers in every class. The focus is with each patient as I enter the clinic room with them.

This trimester, I want to learn as much as I can and really dive into adjusting skills. We clear for the clinic on November 30, 2012, when we have our Clinic Induction Ceremony in the afternoon. There are a few observations and assignments we have to accomplish before we can start seeing patients. We also get to do a complete work up and adjust a classmate before we see any patients in the lower trimesters. This is nice because we can be understanding of each other and forgiving if someone is slow or does tests in an inefficient order. We can use this time to help each other out. During Clinical Methods class yesterday, we had a tour of the Campus Health Center with Dr. McConnell. Even though I have been in the clinic several times as a patient, it felt different this time. I was on the other side now. Dr. McConnell encouraged us to take the opportunity and learn from the other doctors in the CHC if one arises. There will be more variety that way and more learning because every chiropractor is unique.

I just purchased a Palmer Planner from the Bookstore and a clinic planner from the Vet’s Club. I will be taking the advice of those who have gone before me and writing down all of my classes and assignments that are expected of me this trimester. The Vet’s Club clinic planner is really handy; it has time slots every day for patients, and it tracks numbers of adjustments, radiology credits and physical exams. It can be used for the entire time you are here at Palmer in the clinics to track every patient. It is also nice because you can look back and have a record all in one place of every patient you see from the start of your Palmer Chiropractic career onward! I guess I am still old school and like the paper version and I am not switching to iPad or electronic versions quite yet!

Good luck to those of you starting a new trimester!