Thursday, January 29, 2015

Advice to the Young Chiropractic Student

This is a pep talk for all the young chiropractic students out there.  Stuff I wish I had been told or had realized at an earlier time.

If you were like me, you went to chiro school because you had a great experience with a chiropractor and wanted to do the same for other people.  There was the bonus of being your own boss and not taking orders from someone.   You go to school and quickly realize, what is all this science stuff?  Histology, embryology, what the hell man.  This stuff is stupid.  Man teach me to move some bones around!

Your first year is crammed with classes you find useless.  You take them to learn stuff for a board exam.  The stuff on the board exam is so out there, the chances of you needing that information are few and far between.  What is the rate limiting step of the Krebs Cycle?  All you want to do is learn to move a bone.

So you join every stupid club imaginable.  2nd trimester students spending their free time setting up on people and learning about different techniques.   You feel like your falling behind because your buddy adjusted C2 before you and your other buddy is taking an extremity seminar.  Your still having trouble palpating C2 in your spare time.   Man will I ever move a bone?

By the time chiro school is finishing the science is behind you.  Your working on people and still worried your not going to be able to move bones well.  What if I can't move a bone and people are paying me?

During this period, you yourself are getting adjusted by every other person in school.  You probably are getting adjusted 3x a week.  If you didn't have a neck problem going into school, you have one now.

A funny thing happens from first day to graduation day though, the value of an adjustment goes down in your thought process.  You get it for free, constantly.  It is being devalued.  Don't let it get devalued to you.  A proper adjustment when needed is still a powerful tool.  It is worth paying for.

You graduate school and wonder if your good enough to start a business.  Will people really pay me to work on them?  How does this insurance stuff work?  What if no one shows up?

You decide to take an associate job.  You will make 30,000 dollars working 45 hours a week, making your employer 100,000 dollars.  Don't take an associateship.  Don't be fooled about the 25% bonus after you see 100,000 of net income.  Don't take an associateship.  But, there are two reasons to take one, you don't know if you like the city and want to see if you like living there.  Reason two, the guy you would be working for is a great teacher and you will leave or stay having learned a lot of stuff.

Learning.  School is all backwards.  They should teach you how to adjust from day one.  That is all you care about anyways.  Bring the science later on.  When you care about why things are working.

Don't worry about grades,  A's or C's.  Pass your boards, but learn your craft.  Learn.  Invest in your learning constantly.   You may not have a lot of money, but their are so many free things out there now that it is not an excuse to not be learning.

Having your own business isn't easy.  You are often the marketer, the biller, the scheduler, the janitor and insurance rep all rolled into one.  You have to hustle to meet people.  Sitting in your office hoping people show up generally doesn't work.  There is no security in owning your own business.  Hence, the associateship path many take, but there is freedom.  Don't trade your freedom for security.  Two years down the rode you will be like, why am I still here.  It is scary opening your own business, but nothing great was ever created without overcoming fear.

Give people your best.  Have great intention.  You got into chiropractic to help people.  Not sell them a health plan. Speaking of selling a health plan, don't get involved with those chiropractic business advisors.  Why pay someone 600-1000 dollars a month to tell you your worth it, go ahead and charge 3-4 grand for insurance plan.  Come on man.   Would you want your mom treated that way?

Get a great accountant.  Let them do the taxes and tell you what to save and when to pay.

Keep your overhead ridiculously low.  No one cares if you have the latest gadgetry.  If your table has more bells and whistles then your car you have a problem.  Chiro means, by hand.  Get good with your hands.  At the end of the day, realize this, with a small room and a simple table I can help people and practice my craft.   The rest is just frosting.  No one stays for the frosting.

If you are bored you are doing it wrong.  Don't be a widget guy.  You invested to much time and money to become a widget guy.  Anyone can screw a screw into the widget.  Everyone is unique, develop your tool box so that not everyone gets the same treatment.

Develop your treatment philosophy.  This is much different then a "treatment plan."  The philosophy should be what you want to accomplish with everyone that steps into your doors for help and how you go about evaluating that.  Have a system.

Enjoy your time in school.  It goes fast.  Learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can.  When you start your own place, try not to worry about the patients you don't have, create the best possible interaction with the patients you do have.  Be a problem solver.  It never gets old and never goes out of style.


Dr. Roger Barnick, Vancouver Chiroprator said...

Yes indeed. Provide a value. People need true health care.

Dr. Roger Barnick, Vancouver Chiroprator said...

Yes indeed. Provide a value. People need true health care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice! I am in 9th trimester (out of 10) and this was a great reflection on my past, present and future career!