One year into the new College of Chiropractic curriculum, Logan is reporting a positive response from students and faculty as well as significant improvements in students’ interpersonal and patient communications skills.
Using the constructivist learning methodology, the curriculum places greater emphasis on hands-on practice environments earlier in the student’s career while simultaneously providing a solid foundation in science and chiropractic knowledge through classroom coursework.
Logan’s leadership believes earlier introduction to clinical practice environments creates more capable, reflective and competitive doctors positioned for careers in integrated health care settings.
“We are definitely seeing the desired effect with students developing better patient communication and clinical skills at a much earlier rate,” said Vincent DeBono, DC, CSCS, dean of the College of Chiropractic. “Even our standardized patients are reporting that they cannot tell the difference between the older trimester students and the younger trimester students.”
Traditionally, students learn first then apply the knowledge; however, students enrolled in Logan’s DC program learn and perform at the same time, spending 40 percent of their time in hands-on clinical skills courses during their first year.
Based on the Logan’s curriculum, students in trimesters one through four are expected to function at a reporter level on low complexity cases and show adequate knowledge and basic skills to perform fundamental exams. Four through six trimester students are expected to function at an interpreter level on low to moderately complex cases and show a greater knowledge base, increased confidence and skill in selecting and communicating clinical facts to a patient including formulating differential diagnoses. Seven through ten trimester students are expected to progress to and finally graduate at the manager level on moderately complex cases, demonstrating a greater understanding of their patients’ needs, establishing relationship-centered care and incorporating evidenced-informed patient care plans.
“What makes our curriculum redesign different, especially among chiropractic programs, is that students are assessed using the reporter, interpreter and manager system,” Dr. DeBono said. “It really looks at a student’s progress toward becoming a proficient and confident chiropractor, rather than looking solely at a student’s grades.”
Logan’s curriculum is a living document and what the faculty and students are seeing drives the changes that are made. Dr. DeBono said it is constantly being monitored and adjusted making faculty and student input so critical.
Logan’s faculty is now focused on rolling out trimesters four through six students move from the reporter level to the interpreter level. “In this phase, we have a whole different education focus, and we are working with faculty on developing that assessment now,” said Dr. DeBono. “We keep adding to previously covered material at a higher level further developing critical thinking skills, so by the time students enters the clinical phase, they are better prepared to see patients in our clinic system.”