A Collaborative Approach to Patient Care

SCU Prepares Students to Work With All Healthcare Professionals

Students at the Southern California University of Health Sciences will graduate knowing they may not be able to help every patient that comes to them in practice. And that’s okay because healthcare providers today don’t have to operate in solitude.

“Our students will be ready to conservatively manage the majority of patient health concerns as related to their specialty in healthcare practice,” says Dr. Melissa Nagare, Vice President for the SCU Health System and Chief Clinical Officer. “We also train them to recognize and embrace the fact they will also be steering patients to other providers for co-management when the patient needs help in different ways.”

In fact, collaboration between providers ensures patients get the highest quality care to meet their unique medical needs.

This integrated care model teams up healthcare providers from a number of fields—physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other practitioners—to solve cases, such as spinal injury, chronic back pain, and migraines.

“No single approach or treatment is designed for every scenario that may arise in a person’s health,” says Nagare. “That’s why we embrace a variety of specialties and provider types to address patient concerns.”

SCU students gain experience in integrative care through their clinical clerkships, which they start after completing their first year coursework. Students work at:

  • Chiropractic practices in the community
  • The on-campus University Health Center and Sports Medicine, Fitness, and Human Performance Center
  • Clinics at area colleges in the University of California, Cal State, and LA Community College systems
  • Community clinics, including the VA, Orange County Rescue Mission, and LA Free Clinic

They take histories and evaluate and treat chiropractic patients as part of their rotations. SCU students learn to recognize the diverse needs of their patients and collaborate with other healthcare professionals as needed to ensure the patients receive the best care possible.

“Students collaborate with non-SCU physicians through phone calls, face to face conversations, and written referrals for situations such as surgical consultations,” says Nagare. “The important thing is they let the other doctors know what’s going on with the patient.”

That takes pressure off the patient—who doesn’t have to explain the situation to each new provider—and puts medical decisions back into their hands.

“Our students learn to show their patients how to make informed decisions about their health by providing them options for care,” says Nagare.

The past decade has seen a significant level of collaboration between the chiropractic and medical professions in research, development of clinical guidelines, and practice based upon an increasingly common approach to the prevention and treatment of non-specific spinal pain and disability.

Chiropractors have more opportunities to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals in settings like U.S. Veterans Administration and military hospitals. They were also an integral part of the medical services for the past four Olympic Games.

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