Not everyone makes it after chiropractic school. It can be tough being in the “real world”. And chiropractors are known for eating their young. Here are my top 6 tips on things to do to help you not just survive but thrive after graduation.
1. take some time off– chiropractic school is stressful. One of the best pieces of advice that I received from a recently graduated student was to take a few months off. Use the time to unwind, plan, exercise, or whatever. Take some time for yourself before jumping in to work. The work we do is physically and emotionally demanding, so enjoying a few months to yourself can help prevent burnout.
2. be confident in your education- I felt completely unprepared on my first day of work. I thought I had no idea what I was doing. In reality, we are well prepared for working outside of the school clinic setting. As long as you went to class and payed attention you will be fine!
3. find a mentor- find someone that you can shadow or associate with that is successful in practice. Being successful in practice takes a lot more than being a capable adjuster. That is only one part of it. Find someone you want to be like in the next 20 years and learn as much as you can from them. See how they interact with people and how they manage difficult patients.
4. be a smart associate- this one is very important. It is easy to get taken advantage of coming out of school. Be very careful before signing any contracts. Ask other associates that work or worked there what their experiences were like. If they were negative, might be wise to think again about working there. Having a lawyer look over the contract is also one of the smartest pieces of advice that I received before graduating. It is easy for people to say nice things, but unless it’s written down, it means nothing.
5. never stop learning- thankfully we have standards of continuing education so we must continue to keep learning things. Never forget the joy of learning something new. Keep up with latest health news/trends. It’s amazing some of the questions patients will ask you, so being informed is important. And when you are striving to be the best practitioner that you can, patients will pick up on that.
6. be honest with your patients- be honest in what you say to them, and who you are. Patients will stay with you if you are authentic in your personality and are honest with them. Don’t try to be someone else or fudge the truth because you think it will make you or the patient uncomfortable.
There are many other things that can help, but I found these things the most important for helping me thrive in the first years of practice. I hope these help you as well as you navigate life after graduation!