By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PORT ORANGE - Students at Palmer College of Chiropractic's Florida campus will soon be able to take a test required to become a certified chiropractor close to home.
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners will open a Part IV Practical Examination test site at Palmer College on Nov. 9. The practical examination tests chiropractic students' skills in diagnostic x-ray imaging, chiropractic technique and case management.
The NBCE offers the Part IV Practical Examination twice every year in the months of May and November.
Dr. Paul Townsend, NBCE's Director of Practical Testing Research and Development, described practical examination as "kind of like a driver's test for chiropractors" because the training portrays real clinical cases.
He said there were two major factors that played into opening the test site in Port Orange: minimizing the time and expense required for students to travel to different test sites, and the rapid growth of Palmer College's chiropractic program.
Florida chiropractic students, including those attending Palmer College, had to travel far out of town to complete the required practical examination in the past.
"Currently the Port Orange students would have to travel to Atlanta to do the test," Dr. Townsend said. "We (NBCE administrators) decided it was time to open a testing center."
The growth of Palmer College in recent years was also a factor in the testing site's location in Port Orange. Since its Florida campus on City Center Parkway opened in 2002, the college added two new buildings - a second classroom building and a student center - to accommodate the needs of the expanded student population. The campus has an enrollment of 741 students from nearly 40 states, according to Palmer College's website.
"We strategically place our testing centers where the most students could benefit from it," Dr. Townsend said, adding the new testing site would also be utilized by students from the National University of Health Sciences' chiropractic program in St. Petersburg.
A news release from NBCE states Port Orange's practical examination testing center can support 150 students at a time, and 70 employees will be at the test site.
Dr. Townsend identified Dr. Davis Kinney as the chief examiner of the test site. Dr. Kinney, who currently has a practice in Albany, Ga., will oversee the clinical aspects of the examination and ensure the exam is conducted in a clinically accurate manner.
"This is a unique professional examination that places candidates in a live 'hands on' testing environment where they are interacting with 'standardized patients' who undergo significant training in order to give appropriate responses to the candidates questions and exam procedures," Dr. Kinney said in an e-mail statement.
As chief examiner, Dr. Kinney will also train and supervise the 20 examiners on staff. He said the examiners would come from as far as New York and New Mexico to help conduct the exam.
He said he's looking forward to the new test site opening in Port Orange.
"We are excited to bring the Part IV NBCE exam to Palmer Florida," Dr. Kinney said. "The growth and success of the Palmer campus in Port Orange has merited the decision ... to place an exam site there."