Archive for tag: career

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.

Chicago Plus Siberia Equals Chiberia

Welcome back! It has been an interesting and some might say difficult start to the New Year. 2014 has brought almost 15 inches of snow and temperatures around -35º Fahrenheit. As Chicagoans, we should be used to weather like this, but the past three winters have been very mild, so this has been a rough awakening for most people. Hopefully this is the worst of the winter, but chances are we have a few more months of this before we see spring weather.

2014-01-15_snow
Chicago + Siberia = Chiberia!
A snapshot of the snow on my balcony.

With the New Year, I started my 10th and last trimester of my chiropractic education at National University of Health Sciences. This trimester consists solely of my clinical internship with no other course work. I still am enrolled in the acupuncture elective, which will finish up around the end of January or the beginning of February. The material we still have to cover in acupuncture includes: San Jiao (triple warmer), gallbladder, liver, governing vessel, conception vessel, and auricular therapy.

I had a couple exciting developments since my last blog. On December 26th, I received my score for Part IV Board exams. A passing score for the exam is above 375, and some states require a score of 475 in order to practice. Not only did I pass, but also I received a score high enough to practice in any state. Needless to say, it was the best Christmas gift ever!

Since my first trimester in chiropractic school, I have been shadowing and volunteering with Rick Ezgur, DC, at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center. Over the past few months, we have been in talks about me joining the practice as an independent contractor. This can be a lengthy process in that there are initial talks, drafts of the contract, negotiations, second opinions, and final drafts of the contract. It is also important to have a lawyer look at the contract to make sure everything is up to par.

As of Tuesday this week, Dr. Ezgur and I finalized and signed the contract for me to join the practice as of May 2014. It was a very exciting day that was the culmination of all the hard work that I have put in over these past three years. Now my focus is on what I will do to get my name out there, market, and advertise about my start at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center, which is located on Sheffield Avenue in the north Lincoln Park area. 

Ideas for the Future

In my ethical business management class this week, Kevin J. Pelton, JD, DC, spoke to our class about future financial independence, practice options, risk management, and the reality of being a doctor. He graduated in 1987 with his law degree and later in the '90s from NUHS with his chiropractic medicine degree. Dr. Pelton has had a very successful career, and as of today he sees patients in three clinics and has hospital privileges in the city where he practices. 

The first idea he presented was about having goals and dreams in mind for your future. His suggestion was to keep a small notebook with you to write down your goals, so they are always present in your day-to-day life. By having goals at all times, you ensure productivity in your daily life. The goals you have throughout life may change from career to family to social to leisure, and the key to achieving them is letting go of self-imposed limitations.

The next topic Dr. Pelton covered was practice options that are available for us when we graduate. With the average associateship lasting about 2.7 years, new grads need to have other practice options ready to go. Some tips for success in opening a practice include: keeping overhead low, having a small efficient office, leasing minimal equipment when opening, using highly integrated technology, and making office hours convenient for patients. The final option he presented was integrating into a hospital setting to practice, which he has done in a hospital in the OB/GYN department in his hometown. Integrating into a hospital in the Chicago area is a goal of mine in the future, so I have sent an email to him to discuss how to get started with that process. More details to come. 

Another topic Dr. Pelton covered was what it means to be a physician. Some important ways to make a connection with your patients are matching the energy level of the patient, being caring and responsive, and most importantly going above beyond what is merely expected of you.  Also, it is important to render a diagnosis and not a report of findings. Most patients find a long drawn-out report of findings to be confusing and unclear, and others will stop listening halfway through. By having a clear and concise diagnosis, you are able to set a solid foundation for that patient visit and how the future visits will be directed. Finally, do not push patient relationships too quickly. By matching the patient's energy and comfort level, you are able to move forward with the doctor-patient relationship at a pace that's comfortable for both of you. 

Down Time

2013-05-28_flowers
Another pot of flowers on our roof deck. We finished planting this weekend.

Earlier this week started with an Evo hair show that I attended with the fabulous XO Studio stylists Sunday evening. Evo is an all-natural, organic hair product line from Australia. This quote from their website (evohair.com) sums up why I am now in love with them, "Evo steps outside the normal realm of truth-stretching invention in a 'wake up and smell the coffee' crusade of twisted honesty--designed to make people think. And so comes the catch phrase--saving ordinary humans from themselves!" As a non-stylist, I was invited to attend the event with by a good friend, Charlie Bonanno, the owner of the best new salon in Lakeview, XO Studio. The event was really informative, super interesting, and most importantly full of free products. 

2013-05-28_niece

Then on Saturday, I traveled down to Indianapolis for my partner's niece's graduation party. It was a really nice celebration, and a great day with family and friends. The day was also exciting in a way because it made me think about how very near my graduation actually is. In 325 days, give or take a few, I'll be walking across a stage with a diploma in my hand and giant smile on my face.