Dustin Minnick, D.C. (Florida, ’21) didn’t always know that he would become a Doctor of Chiropractic. After considering other paths in health care and even shadowing in cardiology, obstetrics, otolaryngology (ENT), family practice and others, Dustin wasn’t eager to rush a decision. For two years following his undergraduate degree in biology, Dustin worked and spent time figuring out his path. He ended up shadowing a family friend who’s a doctor of chiropractic, and the hands-on care without the use of drugs or surgery caught his attention.
“My dad is an electrician, so I learned at a young age that I enjoy working with my hands. My mom is a Registered Nurse and helped me set up shadowing opportunities. Going into health care and working with my hands was the best of both worlds!”
It was the same D.C. that Dustin shadowed who had given him his first adjustment just a couple years earlier. Dustin experienced back pain from playing baseball, working in factories and working in construction, and finding relief sealed the deal for him.
When it comes time in the 10th quarter to choose a possible clinic path there are many options for students. From preceptorships to working in the Palmer Clinics to the VA/DoD program, it can be overwhelming to know which path to take. Dustin decided to apply for the DoD/VA program at Salisbury VA Medical Center in North Carolina. As a graduate of Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and with in-laws in Concord, he was hoping to be close to home.
Palmer’s DoD/VA student rotation opportunities give students the chance to serve our nation’s military and veterans while gaining valuable clinical experience in a multi-disciplinary environment.
After being accepted into the program, Dustin worked under Timothy Long, D.C. for six months.
He considers the hands-on education and training he received to be priceless, “I got to help people from all walks of life with a variety of medical challenges. I really got to know and interact with my patients which was great practice.”
Beyond a traditional clinical environment, students working at the VA hospitals also learn how D.C.s work with medical professionals across many disciplines, for the benefit of the patient. Dustin worked alongside orthopedists, podiatrists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, counselors and psychiatrists.
“The VA has adopted a whole health system with a holistic health approach,” Dustin said. “Many of these patients are elderly with chronic pain and other challenges from mental health disorders, amputations, degeneration, pain and more,” he said. “You have to adjust your adjustments, or not adjust the patient, due to contraindications.”
Dustin graduated from Palmer Florida in September 2021. By then he had completed 640 adjustments and 60 patient exams, far exceeding the minimum requirement is 250 adjustments and 25 new patient exams to graduate. He plans to transition into owner and operator of his mentor’s private practice. It’s currently one practice with hopes to expand across North Carolina in the future. The practice will be a “community provider” with the VA so Dr. Minnick can continue to treat VA patients in private practice.
In January 2022, Dustin will be the owner of Minnick Clinic Chiropractic & Rehabilitation PLLC in Kannapolis, NC.
“I was a completely different chiropractor by the end of my six-month rotation at the VA hospital,” Dustin said. “I can confidently recommend the VA/DoD rotation program to all students.”
As Dustin prepares for his own clinic, he can confidently lead with the knowledge, tools and experience to make the Minnick Clinic succeed!
Palmer’s Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affair’s (DoD/VA) student rotation opportunities give students the chance to serve our nation’s military members and veterans while gaining valuable clinical experience in a multi-disciplinary environment.
These rotations are available to senior-level students on all Palmer campuses and include more than 50 affiliated DoD/VA hospitals and sites. Learn more at www.palmer.edu/dod.