Access and Participation: Chiropractic Patient Case Study Session

Neil Osborne and Caroline Elphick

This week, we are celebrating the launch of our 2020-2025 Access and Participation plan – which outlines our commitment to ensuring all young people we work with have equal access to Higher Education.

As part of this, we are sharing stories of some of the recent staff/student collaborations that have been taking place at AECC University College to offer more opportunities to more young people.

In this staff/student collaboration, AECC University College’s Chiropractic Clinic Director, Neil Osborne, and Final Year MChiro student, Caroline Elphick aimed to support prospective students who had booked to shadow interns at our on-site Chiropractic Clinic, which is currently not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chiropractic patient case study

Instead, Neil and Caroline created a 45-minute online session that aimed to give students an insight into what life is like as a Chiropractor. The session was attended by Year 12 and Year 13 pupils from a number of different schools. Many of the participants were working on their UCAS applications to study Chiropractic at the time.

Neil and Caroline presented participants with a case study of an imaginary patient, complete with MRI and anatomical images.

Neil explains: “We wanted to educate prospective students in the kinds of patient scenarios that we encounter at our Chiropractic Clinic on campus. We used the example of someone who is presenting with symptoms of what is often incorrectly referred to as ‘a slipped disc.’

“We introduced the patient case study and explained the symptoms that he was experiencing. We asked the students what they understood by the term ‘slipped disc’ and then asked them to do some online research into the condition.

“As the session progressed, we asked them to go and research different elements of the patient’s diagnosis and then come back and tell us what they had found. We would talk through their findings, explaining how Chiropractors would approach this scenario.

“We slowly built up the case study and students learned more about the diagnosis and what they could do about it. They learned about human anatomy and the pathology of the ‘slipped disc’; the way it interferes with the nerves of the body. Why, for example, the imaginary patient was presenting with a weakness in a certain part of their leg.

“We explained that, contrary to popular belief, discs don’t actually ‘slip’ and it was brilliant to see the students absorbing all this new information. It was great to open this kind of challenge-based exercise up to those students who can’t come to campus.”

Great feedback

Reflecting on the session, Caroline adds: “We saw some great interaction from the students, which was really encouraging. We were really impressed at how hard they worked to research what we asked them to. They were really interested and engaged.

“We received some really good feedback on the session, with participants telling us that they felt they had learned a lot and enjoyed the session. That was great to hear!

“Personally, I really enjoy spreading the word and talking to people. When I understand something, I love explaining it and teaching other people about it. I’m a Specialist Student Ambassador at AECC University College, which means I work on sessions like this and help with our Summer School.

“Helping out in this way definitely reinforces your own knowledge by teaching other people. You’re going back over material that you know but you haven’t studied for a while. It’s a great refresher. It has also helped with my presenting skills.”

New ways of teaching

Neil continues: “I’m a teacher and a Clinician and I always enjoy explaining things and helping people discover things. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged all teachers to find new ways of working: there has been a massive shift in the way that universities and schools deliver things. There’s no going back from that.

“This kind of session can be delivered to anyone anywhere in the world, which means there are so many possibilities to offer similar sessions and open up this kind of learning far and wide.”

Due to the success of the session, Neil and Caroline will be holding another session during Career’s Week in March. The session is open to Year 12 and Year 13 students. You can register your interest here.