Different Perspectives

I think one of the most rewarding things about being a campus guide is the variety of experiences that I receive. Just this last trimester I was able to give tours to individuals from practicing alumni, to our national congressman, to prospective students. It is always interesting to see the different perspectives from the various groups. I love the excitement that I see in prospective students. It reminds me of the excitement and the eager anticipation that I had when I started this program. It also helps lift my spirits if I am having a long day or just received a bad score on a test or practical (not that I ever do).

What is even more encouraging to me is when I see that same eagerness and anticipation from alumni who have been practicing for several years. It is awesome to see chiropractors that have the same love for their profession at the end of their careers as those who are taking the first baby steps towards becoming a chiropractor.

As I prepare to leave the student clinic for the outpatient clinic, I am starting to see tangible ways that chiropractic helps people not only feel better, but it helps them become and remain more active, alive, and free. Stay tuned for stories of patient encounters as I begin to discover my own chiropractic “miracle” stories.

Joe O’Tool, 7th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

44 credit hours…yikes!

One of the most common questions I get asked by prospective students when I’m giving my tours is some variation of “What is it like taking 30 credit hours a trimester?  How do you do it?”  My answer is that it’s like being in high school again.  Most people went to high schools where they had 7-8 classes a day, about 50 minutes each, with 5 minutes of passing time in between.  Yep, that’s Palmer too.  With a few differences, of course.  They are usually relieved to hear that there’s a lot less homework and assignments at Palmer, mostly just studying for exams, practicals, and the occasional quizzes.  Not to say that you won’t be busy, but it’s definitely doable.  Lets face it; this is a graduate school program to become a doctor.  You don’t exactly expect or even want it to be easy.  But hundreds of people graduate from Palmer every year, and they got through it—so can you!

That being said, it was a bit of a shock for me when I logged onto the Portal this trimester (our school website where we can view our schedule and grades) and saw that I am registered for 44 credit hours!  That’s definitely a record setter for me.  Don’t worry, 44 credit hours isn’t “normal”, even at Palmer—12 of those hours are elective hours that I voluntarily signed up for.

During the break between trimesters I took the Activator elective, where we learn the basics of Activator adjusting.  The Activator is a handheld instrument that delivers a specific, low force adjustment (often called a “pogo stick”, “thumper” or “clicker” by patients).  It involves protocols where the doctor checks the comparative lengths of the patient’s legs while playing “Simon says” with the patient (not really, but they’ll have the patient do things like “Put your left arm above your head”, “Shrug your shoulders”, and “Push your forehead into the table”, for example).  The actions that the patient performs isolates specific spinal segments and causes a change in leg length if that area is misaligned and needs to be adjusted.  It’s a pretty neat technique and a popular elective for students at Palmer to take.

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening for the first half of the trimester I’m taking the Thompson elective, which is a technique that utilizes the segmental drop table.  Dr. Thompson was a Palmer grad who developed the table and adapted existing adjusting techniques for use with the table.  The drop mechanism increases the speed of the adjustment so you don’t have to use as high of a force.

For four weekends during this trimester, all day Saturday and half of Sunday, I’m taking the NUCCA elective.  NUCCA stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association.  NUCCA practitioners specialize in looking at the atlas, the top cervical vertebra in the spine, by taking a series of films that allows them to analyze the alignment of the atlas and formulate a specific listing for correcting that misalignment.  The adjustment is done with the hands and is very low force.  NUCCA is one of several “upper cervical specific” techniques that believe the atlas is the most important bone in the body to correct.  The atlas surrounds the brainstem, and in the brainstem is the reticular formation, which is the control center that causes muscles in the body to extend.  When the atlas is misaligned by even millimeters, it can put pressure on the brainstem and cause muscles along the spine to contract, and thus other bones to misalign, nerves to be irritated, and symptoms to appear.  Correcting the atlas goes to the source of the problem and relieves the pressure on the brainstem, thus allowing the rest of the spine—and body—to correct itself.  There are some who find it hard to believe that the atlas is the main place in the body that can be the source of so many symptoms, but upper cervical doctors have done a lot of research and get great results with their patients.  If this interests you, I encourage you to read the book “what TIME, tuesday?” by James Tomasi about how a NUCCA adjustment saved his life.

So while Palmer keeps us busy with classes and electives, that’s one of the things that makes it such a great school.  I feel so lucky that we can learn so many adjusting techniques, not only in the curriculum, but also as electives.  In several of the electives I’ve taken, students and graduates from other chiropractic colleges have been in the classes taking them too because they weren’t offered at their colleges.  There’s something for everyone at Palmer, whether you plan to adjust full spine, upper cervical specific, subluxation-based, tonal, hands-only, with an instrument….and if you have no idea what any of those things mean, that’s okay too, because you’ll learn—after 30+ credit hours a trimester, you’d certainly hope so!

Alissa Grover, 7th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Why I love Campus Guides…

Well I have got to level with you all. Being a campus guide at Palmer College of Chiropractic Davenport is the most amazing opportunity that I have had, aside from working towards my DC degree. The reason I feel so strongly about this has to do with what we, as guides, represent. In my mind, the campus guides represent the best of the best that Palmer has to offer. We stand as ambassadors of the college and are always ready to go the extra mile in whatever capacity we are asked to participate. I take great pride in knowing that I was selected to join such a select and elite organization.

One of my favorite activities with the campus guides is to give tours of the college to prospective students. I just recently completed my first year of the DC program, and as I start the second year of the program, I look back and can’t believe how fast time is going by. When I give a tour to prospective students, I often look in their eyes and see so much of what I felt when I was in their shoes. I see excitement, anxiety, a little fear, determination, and most of all passion. I felt all of those feelings as I walked the halls of the college, listening to my campus guide as I was trying to figure out where to obtain my education. I love answering their questions and finding out what has brought them to Palmer. When I meet with these prospective students and their families, my desire is to share with them my passion for chiropractic and help them in any way that I can.

At the conclusion of all my tours I always hand out my business card to anyone who wants it and tell them they can text or call me anytime, day or night. I’ve even created a Twitter profile @kingcampusguide where anyone can ask me questions about anything pertaining to Palmer and life as a student. For me, being a campus guide is all about giving back to Palmer and helping to spread the message of chiropractic to as many people as I can. I love Palmer and I love being a campus guide. If you or anyone you know has a question about Palmer or chiropractic, feel free to drop me a tweet or send me an e-mail. (Put attn: Matt in the subject line.) I promise I’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks for your time and remember in the words of B.J. Palmer, “Throw away your wishbone, straighten up your backbone, stick out your jawbone and go to it”.

Matt Sharples, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus