As a young child, I would limp while walking. The pain became severe enough that I started to drag my leg and eventually couldn’t walk at all. My mom took me to the chiropractor she worked for at the time, and after my first adjustment I was pain free and able to run out of the room.
As I grew older, I was always interested in science, biology and anatomy. I was excited by the possibilities provided by the scope of practice in a chiropractic career. When considering chiropractic schools, I was amazed at the differences between their philosophies. I was fortunate that my choice, National University, offered a scientific model that matched the type of medically driven practice I envisioned.
So much of the curriculum has been helpful to me in my current practice: Dr. Prakash provided me with information that I used to build relationships within the medical community. Dr. Stiefel explained radiology to a degree that I can communicate well with radiologists when calling for follow-ups on scans. Dr. Hogan challenged me daily to understand topics beyond the surface. Dr. Elder and Dr. Bifulco equipped me with adjusting techniques that prepared me more than I appreciated at the time.
Also, Dr. Gidcumb and Dr. Ianelli went above and beyond to help develop our diagnosis and examination skills. Dr. Darby and Dr. Humphreys provided such detail and effort throughout our neurology instruction, and Dr. Humphreys was even available to help me with a patient case over the phone a few years after graduation. Dr. Hodges helped me understand how to approach the bank for a loan, how to run a practice, and how to prepare a budget for an office, and was instrumental as I signed my first contract.
After graduation, I was hired as an associate of Dr. Brent Roth (DC ’77), also a NUHS graduate. Not only did he have a sound, growing practice, Dr. Roth taught me a great deal about running a business. I worked for Dr. Roth for two years before purchasing my own practice in 2008.
I now practice as a solo practitioner. My practice utilizes diversified technique and instrument-assisted adjusting. We also offer Cox flexion/distraction, physiotherapy modalities, Graston Technique, and Kinesiotape. Our practice reimbursement is approximately 50% cash and 50% insurance reimbursement.
The role of the DC in today’s medical system is much more personal than many others in the field. Enroll in a DC program if your heart is for helping the patient, because we spend time with them, we get to know and understand our patients more personally. We must remember we are treating the person and not just the symptoms.
Dr. Bagley’s Advice to New DC Grads
Knowing what I know now, this is what my advice would be for those just starting out in the chiropractic profession: First, hire a staff that you can trust and that understands the direction and goals of the office. Take time to train them to perform to the standard that you expect for your practice. They are the first and last impression of you and your practice to your patients.
Second, imagine what you want your practice to look like in ten years and start that model today. There are things that I did at the beginning of my career that have been difficult to change as our practice has changed.
Finally: Trust the adjustment! When I first started in my practice, I was not confident in my adjusting skills and began to look at every adjunctive therapy I could use for conditions. The longer I have practiced, the more I have appreciated the power of the adjustment.
I cannot begin to thank the staff and faculty at National University enough for what they did to prepare my classmates and me for practice. From our basic sciences to diagnosis labs to adjusting technique labs, I believe that we were taught and prepared by the best in our field.