Archive for tag: graduation

Final Blog as a Chiropractic Student

Early in the week, the eighth, ninth, and tenth trimester interns had a mandatory presentation to attend in Lombard from NCMIC and an NUHS alumnus, Dr. John DeMatte. NCMIC is a malpractice insurance company that specializes in covering the chiropractic profession, and their motto is, "We Take Care of Our Own." The presentation was beyond helpful.

At the beginning of the session, both the insurance representative and Dr. DeMatte opened by asking what questions and concerns we all had about insurance, business, our future practices, and much more. They then tailored the presentation to try to answer as many of those questions for us as they could. For me, I have a list a mile long of questions about what I need to do before I start, so having a chance to listen in a comfortable setting and get those concerns addressed was so valuable. 

Some great topics or suggestions were (and I am just going to list because they covered so much!):

  • When applying for loans, most large banks deny requests from recent graduates due to their strict requirements. Best to go with smaller local banks to apply for new business loans.
  • Benefits of doing in-house billing -- keeps records and doctor/patient relationship more personal.
  • Are discounts for cash payments allowed?  Still a very grey line on whether or not they are OK. Some insurance companies require that they are the lowest price as per their contract. It is best to talk to other doctors in the area and see what is acceptable per the insurance companies in the area.
  • Problems with independent contractor relationships -- some doctors looking to add an independent contractor to their practice look at it as hiring an employee. In reality, a true independent contractor relationship consists of two separate businesses.
  • Importance of looking into demographics in the area where you are looking to open a practice. If you are set on opening in a specific area and you have a specific specialty you want to focus on, make sure that the area makes the income and will come into the office for those services.
  • NCMIC website also has an "ask an expert" link where you can ask questions about insurance, business, laws, or many other things referring the chiropractic profession.
  • What doctors are looking for when they are hiring a new associate -- new techniques that they don't perform in the practice that will bring in new patients and offer more treatment options for current patients. Other big attributes during an interview -- honesty, confidence, and professionalism!

Overall, the entire presentation was super helpful and somewhat stress relieving.  The fact that you are in a room with 50 other soon-to-be graduates all feeling the same way, made me feel like I am right where I need to be in terms of stress level for what's to come post-graduation.

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The Next Step

This marks my final blog as an NUHS student. I will soon walk across a very important stage and start my career as a chiropractic physician. That moment is going to be filled with so much happiness, pride, excitement, fear, and anticipation. And that moment is only a few short weeks away.

I have to say, when I was first approached to write this blog, my first thought was, "No way, that's way out of my comfort zone." But, when you are pushed outside your comfort zone, you grow as a person. This blog has challenged me, let me express my feelings and experiences, and I am so happy I didn't let my fears stop me from doing it. Thank you for letting me share part of my life with you. Thank you to those who read my blog week after week. Thank you for the emails with questions, I loved to get them! And finally, thank you to Marie Olbrysh and Victoria Sweeney for having the faith in me and approaching me with this awesome opportunity. I am so glad I took it.  

This is me signing off. Good luck prospective and current students! If you have further questions, want to hear about life after chiropractic school, or need treatment for any aches and pains, you can email me at drbradleybackhaus@gmail.com or visit me in my practice at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Countdown to Graduation - 3 Weeks

Patient care is winding down here at the NUHS Chicago Clinic for me. I am slowly turning over all my patients to ninth trimester interns as I finish with the last of my numbers for graduation. It is a bittersweet moment with a lot of the patients because we have been working together for the last six months. Although the patients are sad to see us moving on, they have been super supportive and excited for all us as we move on as doctors.

Over the past few months, my favorite pastime at clinic has been learning more and more about acupuncture. It has been such an effective treatment options for many of my patients. The results I have gotten when using acupuncture for treatment nine times out of ten have way exceeded my expectations. 

Photo of ear using auricular therapy
Auricular therapy with ear seed

The newest facet of acupuncture I have been using with some of my patients is auricular therapy. Auricular therapy consists of needling specific points on or around the ear that correspond to the rest of the body. Auricular therapy is a very effective treatment for depression, fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, smoking cessation, facial rejuvenation, appetite suppression/weight loss, energy, and focus. For lasting results of an auricular therapy treatment, ear seeds can be placed in the patient's ear on specific pressure points. The ear seeds can be covered with a small bandage and left in the patient's ear for a few days after the treatment.

Photo of ear seed
Close up of ear seed

I have been treating a patient at the NUHS Chicago Whole Health Center for fatigue, focus, and increased energy using a lot of the acupuncture points in the ear. The patient is a student and also works two jobs. On average, the patient gets about four hours of sleep a night and her fatigue is mainly due to the stress of the her hectic schedule.

After the initial treatment, the patient has seen a significant increase in focus. Before starting treatment, she typically would doze off when attempting to study for long periods of time. Now, while studying, the patient stated she is able to maintain focus for a much longer period of time. With continued treatment, the patient has noticed increased energy levels throughout the day, decreased fatigue, and a more restful night's sleep.

Internship Stress

Patient Population

Each clinic has a different patient population they treat depending on their area. At the National University of Health Sciences Whole Health Center - Chicago, our patient population consists of a mix of Polish, low income, and some students. A majority of our patients come to us from Community Health Center, which is a clinic that serves people without medical insurance. Once they are seen at that clinic, most of the treatment is 100% covered when they see us.

We do see some University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC) students, but not a large number. This is due to the fact that UIC offers their students excellent and affordable insurance through the university, which has almost 100% coverage when they see UIC MDs or DCs. We do offer the students 50% off at the NUHS Chicago Clinic for all services that we provide including: chiropractic, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, and much more.

Internship Stress

Ever since the beginning of my education at NUHS, upper trimester students would constantly say, "Just wait until you are in your internship; it's so much easier." To those people who told me that, I have to say, "LIES!!!" Once you are in your chiropractic internship, you have a new kind of stress -- the stress of what is going to happen when you are finished.

For me, that stress has been decreased slightly due to the fact that I am finished with all my board exams (Part I, II, III, IV, and PT) and that I have job as an independent contractor lined up when I finish. But there is still so much to handle in order to get started as an independent contractor:

  • Your paperwork for your license along with a significant fee needs to be sent into the state.
  • After you receive your license from the state, you need to get an MPI number.
  • Then you need to apply to each health insurance provider you are planning to enrolling with.
  • And you need to buy malpractice insurance.

Photo of contract
The beginning of my contract as an independent contractor when I graduate.

On the business end of things:

  • You need to hire a lawyer and an accountant.
  • You need to get liability and disability insurance.
  • You need to file with the state as a limited liability corporation.
  • You need to start marketing your for your business.

Needless to say, it's a ton to think about, prep for, and the worst part is wait and wait for the state to approve the applications.

I think the reason I have found this process so stressful is because these are things I don't know anything about. I wear my health care hat very well, but I still need some time to figure out how to wear my business hat. Long to-do lists have become by best friend.

Three Weeks In

The ninth trimester interns have joined us at the NUHS Chicago Whole Health Center. The new interns do not have patients in the beginning of the trimester, so they help out with the tenth trimesters' patients and shadow us. It's a weird feeling knowing that you have people looking up to you. I remember when I started as an intern at this clinic back in September; I was slightly in awe of how much the tenth trimester interns knew and how smoothly they worked with patients. That all comes with time, and now there are new interns that might be feeling the same way.

In my acupuncture course this week, electroacupuncture, cupping, and fire cupping were covered. Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which a small electrical current is passed between pairs of needles. Electrical currents have stimulating effects, which can influence the cells, tissues and entire systems. It can be looked at as an amped up form of acupuncture and is particularly good for treating pain. I personally have used electroacupuncture on patients with muscle atrophy and certain pain syndromes.

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Cupping therapy before and after

Cupping or fire cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a cup is placed on the skin to produce a local area of suction. The suction is created using mechanical devices or by using heat (fire). Cupping is considered safe, but it can cause areas of bruising and swelling following treatment. This therapy is used for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. It is also used for certain gastrointestinal disorders, muscular disorders, and certain types of pain.

The end is very near for me. I received a reminder email from Student Services to petition for graduation. They needed my size for my graduation gown, how I would like my name on my diploma, how many people I expect at the graduation ceremony, etc. This also begins the process of auditing all my classwork and credentials to ensure graduation eligibility. Very exciting!