Logan's Community-Based Internship Program Provides Students with Valuable Real World Experience
While final-year students at Logan College of Chiropractic/University Programs are extremely fortunate to gain practical hands-on clinical experience at seven different Logan Health Centers, Logan recently added a new dimension to its clinical experience offerings.
In 2010, Logan announced its new Community-Based Internship (CBI) Program through which students work and fulfill graduation requirements with a doctor of chiropractic in a private practice setting.
The goal of the CBI Program is to provide interns with an enhanced clinical education experience in which they observe, acquire and practice—under one-on-one expert supervision—the competencies necessary for entry-level chiropractic practice.
“The CBI program bridges the gap between the classroom and the college clinic, and private practice,” states Dr. Michael Wittmer, Logan director of clinical care. “Through the CBI Program, interns get to work in a real world setting and learn firsthand how to make a practice successful.”
Additionally, the CBI Program provides interns with the opportunity to see a wider variety of patients and cases; and also learn how to co-manage patient care with radiologists, physical therapists and primary care doctors.
Tri-10 student Josh Schmerge, who is currently doing an internship with December 1993 Logan graduate Dr. Carl Makarewicz in St. Peters, Mo., agrees that a private practice internship builds on the Logan clinic experience.
“I spent two trimesters working in the Logan health centers and it was great,” says Josh. “For my final trimester, I wanted to do an internship at a private practice to learn about the business side, such as billing, dealing with insurance companies, etc.
Dr. Makarewicz, who is in practice with April 2007 Logan graduate Dr. Courtney Zindrick-Lehmen, adds, “I love the CBI program—it gives students practical, real-life experience and exposes them to the whole office environment. This type of program has been needed for a long time in our field. ”
Logan students in Trimesters 8, 9 and 10 who have met all the requirements for participation, are eligible to apply for an internship through the CBI Program. Students are selected based on how well their profiles and areas of interest match with a doctor in the program. Additionally, eligible students are also allowed to identify local doctors and submit their practice to the CBI Program staff for review and approval.
In the fall of 2011, 60 students applied for internships with the CBI program and 20 were selected. Tri-10 student Jeff King is one of those students who sought out a specific doctor and brought him into the CBI program. “I was interested in working with a doctor who did a lot of active rehabilitation,” he said, “so I did my own research.”
Additionally, Jeff spent several days shadowing in the office of Dr. Joseph Sturges, who has a practice in St. Peters. Jeff was impressed with the doctor and approached him regarding the possibility of an internship.
“I got to know Jeff when he spent a few days here and I thought he could be a real asset to our office,” said Dr. Sturges. Their good working relationship has now resulted in Jeff’s second internship with Dr. Sturges.
Ideally, as a community-based internship progresses, it becomes a true mentoring relationship, which can add immeasurable value to the whole experience. “To be able to spend months working alongside a private practice doctor is the best way to train,” notes Dr. Sturges.
Dr. Makarewicz, who is working with his third Logan intern, echoes that sentiment and adds, “I really enjoy working with the interns. It’s great to be able to share what I have learned with them.”
Both doctors and students alike agree that the key to a positive, productive internship experience is the fit between the doctor and intern. Dr. Sturges notes, “The match is critical to the success of an internship. And Logan really works hard to pair the right doctor with the right student.”
Dr. Wittmer points out that the CBI Program also benefits participating doctors. He said having an intern in the office can help increase productivity. “They can participate in patient care, such as exams, re-evaluations and consultations, as well as handle some of the administrative duties, such as billing and insurance.”
According to Dr. Wittmer, word of mouth about the CBI Program has been positive. “Among doctors, word is spreading and this will help the program to grow,” he states.
In addition to the doctors and students, the other beneficiary of the CBI program is the chiropractic field itself, said Dr. Sturges. “This type of program is vital for our profession because it gives students the chance to work alongside good ethical doctors, to observe and be involved in very high quality patient care. So, when they graduate and go into private practice for themselves, they know the ‘right’ way to run an office.”