“Go for it, or you’ll regret it.”
Kayla knew she wanted to have a career in complementary health care and was drawn to chiropractic. It took just one visit to Palmer West to realize that this is where she belongs. Now, she’s less than one month away from graduation and is in the midst of completing a rotation at the Major General William H. Gourley DoD-VA Outpatient Clinic, in Monterey, California.
Palmer’s Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affairs (VA/DoD) student rotation program gives students the chance to serve our nation’s military members and veterans while gaining valuable clinical experience in a multi-disciplinary environment.
Kayla was drawn to apply to the VA program for a variety of reasons.
“I wanted a true immersion experience — high volume, unique cases, systematic examinations, thorough documentation, and collaboration with other health-care professionals in a multi-disciplinary setting. That, and the opportunity to participate in rotations in various departments, including radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, witness electromyography studies, and observe epidural steroid injections and radiofrequency ablation procedures. Those rotations gave me valuable insight, and serving our veterans has been a privilege.”
The VA/DoD rotation is no stroll in the park, but Kayla sees the long-term rewards.
“My experience has been intensive and highly rewarding. The learning curve is steep and not for the faint of heart. The clerkship is the real deal, in terms of full workdays, getting hands-on, and seeing a wide diversity of patients and complex cases. The vast majority of patients are complex cases with multiple comorbidities. On hard days, I leave the clinic ruminating on everything I should have said or done differently, caught up in imposter syndrome. But at best – I leave with a cheeky grin and a spring in my step, ready to take on anything the world throws at me. All that said, I’m slowly finding my rhythm, and it’s a great feeling.”
Even though some days may be tougher than others, Kayla appreciates the exciting aspects that this program affords her.
“The novelty of each day is exciting. From hearing the humbling and extraordinary stories from veterans to unique case presentations and modifying treatment approaches; not a single day passes without another step (or leap) outside my comfort zone. It’s exciting to reflect on how much I’ve grown by showing up every day, rising to the inevitable challenges that present themselves, and committing to give it my all.”
When it’s all said and done, Kayla will feel more equipped to work in a multi-disciplinary setting with a better understanding of the roles various providers play in caring for their patients. This alone is establishing a bright future for Kayla in a health-care setting.
Kayla offers her advice to those who may be interested in a chiropractic career.
“Don’t approach the program with black and white thinking. Some people begin school with the belief that allopathic medicine is inherently flawed. If this is you, consider that there are a variety of health-care professions that serve a variety of conditions, for a variety of people. There’s a seat for everyone at the table.”
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.