How real-world experience benefits patients

How does the hands-on, multidisciplinary nature of chiropractic benefit patients?

Karen Bobak, D.C., Ed.D., Dean of Chiropractic at New York Chiropractic College, says that it comes down to application.

Students take a full year of gross anatomy, as well as two trimesters of neuroscience, physiology and more, building a crucial foundation in understanding the human body. But the application of these structures in a real health setting, Dr. Bobak says, is where it all matters.

“Students retain things because they can apply them more readily. When it’s applicable to patient care, it becomes more real and, ultimately, that’s the benefit for the patient,” Bobak said.

Take the gross anatomy lab on New York Chiropractic College’s campus, for example.

“It’s important to train our students to be able to understand the depth and the relationships of structures in a very practical way, not just a picture. Students should also appreciate that each cadaver in our dissection lab has a history. Understanding the humanity and the physical challenges that this person experienced helps students to think from a clinical perspective and not just the memorization of structures.”

“You’re going to memorize structures. You’re going to memorize location. But when you’re holding a human brain and you look at sections and recognize the relationships of specific structures, that carries over to the application of knowledge,” Dr. Bobak said. “Ultimately, the beneficiary of that is the patient because the retention for that student is so much more real.

Students at New York Chiropractic College also learn to collaborate with other disciplines in healthcare both on and off campus, which, Dr. Bobak explains, is another important, real-world application that benefits patients.

“Exposing students early to differing perspectives helps to keep an open mind with what they’re doing because patients don’t respond to treatments in exactly the same way. One patient may respond well to one particular form of treatment, and some patients may need something slightly different,” said Dr. Bobak.

“It’s how the patient responds, being cognizant of that, and then open to the perspective that another disciplines may have something else to add to that… that’s just part of the training of patient-centered care.”

Dr. Bobak explains that this can mean working with both the allopathic healthcare professions as well as other natural ones, such as acupuncturists and nutritionists, training right alongside each other  on campus. Doctor of Chiropractic students can choose to dually enroll. D.C. students work alongside students in other programs at NYCC and develop professional connections.

“Each profession will look at a patient presentation with a slightly different view, and being able to have that right here on campus is a significant thing,” said Bobak.

Current D.C. students also learn to work with other healthcare professions, for example, through attending collaboration conferences and seminars with other healthcare professions, as well as working with other providers in their clinical settings — whether through the VA or another healthcare setting — before graduation.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we do here, and where our students will ultimately go,” says Dr. Bobak, “Our goal is to train them to be the very best doctors they can be.”

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