National University students enjoyed two hours of tips on “How to Start an Acupuncture Practice and Work with Insurance,” on Tuesday, August 2. The presentation, sponsored by the NUHS Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Students Association (AOMSA), featured graduates Kathi Wotal (MSOM ’13, pictured left) and Barrie Hinman (MSAc ’09, pictured right).
The two NUHS grads shared fruits of their real world experience to room packed full of students. They offered extensive practical advice on matters such as creating logos and choosing practice names, launching a website, online and print resources for marketing a new practice, the best networking groups, malpractice insurance, leasing a practice space, setting prices and how to accept insurance payments. Students took home links and lists to work from when preparing their business plans.
Kathi Wotal started out by working for an established acupuncturist right after graduation. “It was a valuable experience, as I learned a lot about running a business and also new treatment strategies,” she says. “Working for another acupuncturist for even a short time can be a smart move when you’re just starting out.”
Kathi Wotal now owns Prairie Spring Acupuncture Clinic in suburban Palatine, where she has found success marketing to and networking with other local health professionals, especially those working in psychology and neurology. She also does community outreach by partnering with a local counseling center to offer free treatment one day per week for those with anxiety and PTSD.
Barrie Hinman owns Barrington Acupuncture Clinic and is thriving in solo practice. “I love the practice of acupuncture and being able to help my patients live fuller and happier lives through improved health,” she says.
“Having the knowledge to effectively inform and attract patients to one’s practice is a gift that I want every student to graduate with,” says Barrie. “If we can’t build a healthy practice that supports us physically, mentally and financially, then we neglect nourishing ourselves and we can wither on the vine. Knowing the basic business of marketing and managing a practice are not only essential tools to success, they help us expand the number of people receiving the healing benefits of acupuncture.”
National University’s alumni are a great career resource for current students. Club events and classes featuring alumni experts are just some of the many ways NUHS alumni support current students’ success.