While traditional models for chiropractic education have taken an approach involving a period of academic coursework followed by experiential training, Life Chiropractic College West has taken on a more revolutionary methodology to chiropractic learning. Now four quarters into the Clinically Inspired Learning program, Life West’s decision to integrate clinical experience earlier is picking up steam.
The Clinically Inspired Learning program accepted its first students in Fall 2018. The goal, according to Vice President of the Office of Academic Affairs Dr. Pardeep Kullar, is to blend what students are learning in the classroom with real, hands-on clinical experience that corresponds to the subject they are currently studying. Based on thorough analysis, studies have consistently shown that when classroom learning is paired with hands-on learning and exposure, as well as reflective analysis after the fact, students perform better and are more engaged.
Read what students are saying about the program in this post: Perspective: Bridging the gap with clinic experience
Life West’s new and innovative curriculum has students begin with assignments and clinical observational experiences in the first few quarters, but by the fifth quarter, students progress into hands-on clinical engagement. Students also will have the opportunity to join a chiropractic practice during their last quarter, gaining valuable insight by training with experienced professionals. While students who began Life West with the program are currently entering their fourth quarter, the program is structured so that Life West students farther along in their educational track can benefit from the clinically inspired curriculum as well.
Life West is continuing to fine-tune the details of the program for students. “We’ve added some experiences that tie to student learning in their Diversified and Gonstead classes,” Dr. Kullar said. The development of the program will continue to evolve as new tasks and experiences are added each quarter.
Setting students up for success
Anytime a new program or curriculum is put in place, the immediate concern is that there will be pushback or, even worse, that it may not lead to student success. However, after three quarters of classroom and clinic integration, students in the Clinically Inspired Learning program took a survey to detail their experiences, and the results were positive.
In the third quarter after its initial launch, 70 students were enrolled in the program; that number jumped to 140 by the fourth quarter, with enrollment continuing to climb. Dr. Mary Lucus-Flannery, Dean of Enrollment, says, “The enrollment team has been talking to prospective students about the program for the past few months, and when they hear about how much clinical experience they will get at Life West, they get really excited. The prospective students totally understand what a big deal this is. They know that the clinic experience is the place where all the elements of their education come together, and they get a glimpse into what their lives will look like when they are in practice.”
Significantly increasing the amount of clinical experience a chiropractic student usually receives, Life West offers an education that prospective students can’t find elsewhere. “The program sets Life West apart because of what it achieves. This program gives students nearly double the clinical experience, which allows them to graduate with more confidence and competence than any chiropractic college on the planet,” Lucus-Flannery said.
While other schools wait until the third year to put students in a clinical setting, Life West plans to put students in these environments, observing, within their first month. What’s learned in the classroom is critical to a student’s future practice, and Life West’s Clinically Inspired Learning program provides academic learning in tandem with relevant clinical experiences, ensuring students graduate with years of real-life, hands-on experience, along with the confidence to transition successfully into practice.
For more information about Life West’s Clinically Inspired Learning program, check out this article from earlier in 2019.