We Call it Triage

By Andrew Rostenberg, Northwestern Health Sciences University chiropractic student

The Pillsbury House is a healthcare environment where many lives and many professions intersect.  Working a shift at the Pillsbury House is a multicultural and multidisciplinary experience for the students, the staff, and the patients alike.   And it is out of this collision of different worlds that an exciting concept of integrative care comes to light.

During the course of treatment, chiropractic interns may find themselves speaking English to a retired Vietnam Vet one minute, and then speaking Spanish to a young working family the next.  These same interns might be treating someone who has received chiropractic care hundreds of times, or they might be giving someone their very first adjustment.  Add to it that each patient presents their own unique problem like low back pain, or migraines, or frozen shoulders to name but a few.  Put the cap on it and shake that up and you get a dynamic experience – we call it triage!

This is what the Pillsbury House is all about – integrating all the layers together.  As chiropractic interns we are responsible for examining, diagnosing, treating, and managing our patients but our job doesn’t stop there.  Working with the medical, massage, and acupuncture students and professionals, we receive patients who have been recommended for chiropractic care.  They may have had a massage for 15 minutes before we treat them, and they may have acupuncture after we treat them, but while they are on our tables we are giving them 100% of our attention.

Barriers like language, economics, gender, and age are no match for the forces at work when a determined intern begins to apply the art, science, and philosophy of chiropractic with little more than bare hands.  As stuck, misaligned bones are once again freed and put back into place by the skilled application of a controlled force, as tight and achy muscles are released by a rapid stretch, and as patients begin to relax and breath deeper they feel better – they start to heal.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments, chiropractic interns can be found giving out dietary advice, demonstrating home stretching techniques, and answering questions about the patient’s health challenges.  For some that advice may be simple such as eating protein before bedtime to help with difficulty sleeping and exercising to loose weight.  For others, the interns may have an even larger impact on their health by educating them on current natural strategies for chronic diseases.  One popular topic is avoiding gluten grains with any autoimmune disease, an idea which may empower patients to better manage their chronic conditions naturally.

Bringing together all these different health perspectives provides quality health care to a needy population.  The bottom-line for the interns is gaining hands-on experience, for the patients its relief, and for the community its an example of the Pillsbury House making a difference – a difference they can feel.

Andrew Rostenberg is a student at Northwestern Health Sciences University who current serves as a chiropractic intern at the Pillsbury House. For more information about the partnership, please visit: http://www.nwhealth.edu/natcare/pillsbury.html


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