Davenport Campus Male Military Multidisciplinary Practice Student

Alec Schielke

Long hours. Complex injuries. Lots of patients with low back pain. Welcome to the life of a DoD/VA chiropractic student.  “I am way out of my comfort zone, but it’s an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful for it,” says Alec Schielke, a chiropractic student rotating at a VA medical center in West Virginia.  “My preceptor Dr. Neff is a fantastic mentor.  I can tell my diagnostic abilities and adjusting skills have improved already.”

Alex's Facebook post during his first week at the DoD/VA.

A Facebook post during Alex’s first week at the DoD/VA–His face says it all.

Coveted Opportunity

Chiropractic rotations with the DoD/VA are highly coveted opportunities. Palmer has twenty affiliation agreements, which means that about a dozen Palmer students are rotating through these facilities at any given time.  The rotations are awarded to the very best of the best, and often, students come away with a better understanding of how the medical and chiropractic professions can work together for patients’ best interests. They also gain a profound appreciation for the sacrifices our military servicemen and women have made for our freedom.

Challenging Cases

“One of my first patients was an amputee. How do you do a leg check on someone with one leg? You can’t. So I had to get comfortable using the other tools that Palmer gave me.”  It’s the complexity of patients that defines rotation experiences within DoD/VA facilities.   Add to that the frequent collaboration with providers of all kinds, and you’ve got the makings of a unique and valuable training experience.

Highly Collaborative Health Care

During these rotations, chiropractors and chiropractic students collaborate with other health professionals, including medical specialists in neurology, orthopedics, and pain management, to achieve the best possible outcome for their patients. In some facilities, students also have opportunities to observe a variety of procedures such as neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury clinics, amputee rehabilitation, and diabetic clinics.

Alex was a campus guide while at Palmer

Alex was also a campus guide while at Palmer.

The Palmer Advantage

So what is it that helps rotation candidates rise to the top? “I got involved in clubs right away, several different ones, to increase my adjusting skills,” explained Schielke.  “I also took as many elective classes as I could handle.  Working in the outreach clinics helped too, by exposing me to more complex patients.  Basically, I did everything I could to gain more knowledge while I was a Palmer.”  All that extra effort paid off, because he not only scored the DoD/VA training opportunity, but he was ready for it.

The Reward

“I get referrals every day from family practice docs, which is pretty great.  I’ve been able to shadow with occupational and physical therapists, and I also observed an orthopedic surgery,” Scheilke said, “but the best part of the experience is being able to help my patients get better. I have a lot of what I call B.J.’esk moments, when patients walk in with a cane and after an adjustment, can walk out without one.  It’s an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience.”

“I can’t imagine going into practice without an internship experience of some kind,” said Schielke. “The fact that Palmer offers such high-quality training opportunities is amazing.”

For more information about a career in chiropractic, visit www.Palmer.edu.

To request and appointment with one of our clinics, go to www.PalmerClinics.com, or if you are outside our clinic regions of Davenport, Iowa, Port Orange, Fla. or San Jose, Calif. you can search our database to find a Palmer chiropractor in your area.

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