My Homemade Criteria for Owning Your Own
Hey Cygnets (we seriously need a better school name),
I was contacted over break by a prospective student about what
to expect upon graduation with regards to practice or jobs. I have
contacted a few of my older friends in practice who are a couple
semesters out of school and I'll have some interview-based blogs as
they get back to me over the coming weeks with some good
information for prospective and current students. With that said,
I'll break down my understanding of some different options
I'd like to start with this: Chiropractic is a WIDE OPEN field.
It's as unique as its doctors and you can do whatever you like with
it if you hustle and want it enough. For instance, there are
chiropractors on cruise lines, in hospitals, working in
residencies, sports teams, etc., etc. I don't have enough space (or
time or will power) to break down all the different paths one can
take post-grad. I will focus my energies on the BIGGEST QUESTION of
any chiropractic student.
Do I start my own practice or work for someone else?
That's the million-dollar question. Answering it comes down to a
couple factors in my brief experience through looking at other
- What type of person are you?
- Are you good enough to practice on your own?
- Are you prepared enough to open by yourself?
1. Let's call a spade a spade here: some people are NOT meant to
own their own practice. It's just not in their mindset to be
responsible for running the practice, treating patients, marketing,
and everything else that comes along with being a BUSINESS OWNER.
Some docs will tell you, "I just worry about treating patients. I
don't care about business." Well in the real world, you could be
the best doctor in the world and if you can't get any patients in
your door or pay your bills on time (+student loans) then you're
going to chapter 7 (bankruptcy).
I try not to sugar coat anything because I respected my Dad for
telling me how it was when I was younger so I wasn't wet behind the
ears when the real world stuff started up. Don't fret too much,
however. We get some business classes here; there are all sorts of
practice management companies out there to help you; you can always
shadow lots of doctors and they'll be happy to show you how the
office management stuff runs. Point is: If you're a competent
physician, you're not socially awkward, and you have even the
tiniest bit of passion to own your own office, it's more than
My brother and I playing roller hockey--old mighty ducks
Side note on bias: I am opening my own practice upon graduation
(unless I get an absurd offer from a sports team or top doctor in
an unique area I want to live in for a year or two). I have worked
in a chiro office for 4 years and I have a business degree from
undergrad. I like doing things my way without having to take orders
or be held back from others, so I didn't even have a question in my
mind that I was choosing to start my own practice. Sorry for the
strong bias. With that said, I've been preparing. I'm not just
letting life come; I'm grabbing hold while I'm ahead.
2. The second question is just as sobering. Are you good enough
to see patients by yourself in your own office and get them better?
The easiest (and cheapest) marketing strategy long-term is your
clinical results. Get people better and they will talk. If you're
still struggling to help people in 9th and 10th tri (main clinic),
maybe you should consider working for another doc for a year or two
until you feel confident in your clinical skills.
How do you make sure this doesn't happen? Go to SEMINARS. GO TO
SEMINARS. GO TO SEMINARS. GO TO SEMINARS. Oh, yeah? GO TO SEMINARS
and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Oh, yeah? And GO TO CLUBS, GO TO
CLUBS, GO TO CLUBS. If you get into NUHS and you are not going to
clubs, seminars or practicing your "high speed palpations", you are
doing yourself and your future patients a disservice, and I did not
do my job at this blog.
Adjusting isn't very hard, but it's extremely difficult if you
rely only on the few hours a week we are physically adjusting in
classes. We cool? I know I'm biased. But that's why I'm blogging
and that's why you're reading--it's to decrease your learning curve
so you don't wind up in the clinic wondering what the heck you're
doing 5 visits into a patient with back pain and no idea what to do
Side note: Readers of this blog are statistically proven to
become better doctors and are 99% better looking than non-readers.
3. Last Question: Are you prepared to be in practice by
yourself? The obvious answers are have you shadowed docs, gotten a
chiro assistant job, talked to teachers with practices and older
trimester students? I'll do my part to help out by rounding up the
interviews from some recent grads for you to answer some of your
questions. If you have a specific question feel free to email me.
Until next week...
Peace out Cub Scout,