6 Tips for surviving after chiropractic school

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!

 

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The Chronicles of Sharen- Part 3

Part 3- Early signs of trouble

 

Have you ever had that feeling, where you know something is off, but you choose to ignore it? My guess is that we all have had to deal with something like that at one time or another. I had that this week with Sharen. Let me explain.

Generally things are going well. I am happy to finally be working and into a steady routine and I am slowly building up my patient base. That side of things is fine. But this week Sharen said some things to me that made me uncomfortable.

Sharen had 2 other associates before me, and both of them left within 2 years of working for her. Otherwise I didn’t know anything about these two guys that worked there. She took the liberty of telling me about them recently.

The first associate was apparently very good, but Sharen had major issues with him. According to her, one, he wouldn’t listen to her, and that’s why he didn’t get as many patients as she would have liked. Two, because he left to pursue another degree, and she didn’t think that was worth his time, and she didn’t think it was a real reason for him to leave the company.  Three, she also was very upset because he didn’t keep up with the certification that she wanted him to have. A certification that must be renewed every year and costs a significant amount of money to do. And finally four, he apparently used some testimonials from patients at the clinic, in his new practice. She was the most upset over that last point.

So upset that she decided to sue that employee for using those testimonials. Yes, sue. She is telling me all these things, and starts to get more and more upset, calling the employee names, and saying why he will never really succeed in practice, and that she will sue him for all he has got. There were several meeting with lawyers during this time as well.

Now, for the second associate. Apparently he was a pathological liar, and she didn’t like that his eating habits were not as healthy as she would like. He also was sick too much and that didn’t help keep up the appearance of a healthy clinic when the employees were sick. “We can’t get sick in this business,” according to Sharen.

All this is being said to me, freshly new employee, straight out of school. Bad mouthing of not one but two former employee. At the time, I brushed it off, and didn’t think that much about it. But the more I have thought about it over the past weeks, it leaves me with this sick feeling in my stomach. One, because I think it is information that I don’t need to be involved in as an employee, and two, it makes me wonder what things Sharen might say about me when I leave.

Hey, but what do I know. Sharen is a successful chiropractor with her own business, and maybe this is the way things should be done. So who am I to question her? In the mean time, all I can do is continue to keep doing my job, and trying to help as many people as I can!

The Chronicles of Sharen- Part 54

Part 54- when the new employee becomes the fool

 

Sharen has her own opinions on things, like we all do. The difference between most of us and Sharen is that she is not open to other peoples opinions. Sharen is smart, but very out of touch, and she doesn’t see that what she says and what she actually does do not line up at all.

For example, Sharen says that one of her goals is to be a life long learner, so she reads a lot. But, if someone, comes up to her and says, Sharen the way we have been doing it doesn’t work, maybe we should try this way. She immediately goes into fight mode, criticizing the other suggestion and trying to validate why the way she does it is the best.

The funniest part about this is that sometimes what happens, is that a few weeks later, Sharen will come up to us, and say that she had a new idea about how to do something, the same idea that the person already suggested. But acting as if it was her own idea, not that someone already suggested it to her. This selective memory thing is crazy. Things can only change if it was her idea, since I figured that out, it has helped me in my communication with her. But it is still pretty entertaining to see first hand.

This happened to A, our new employee, when he tried to convince Sharen why one of the techniques that she uses was not as good as a newer version. His reasoning was sound and backed by research. Basically he was right. Instead Sharen told him that the technique was a crappy copy of what we already did, and that the person who made up that technique needed to give credit to the person who created her technique, because he stole the basic premise from him.

Let’s just say that A was not motivated to bounce ideas or even talk to Sharen for long after that.

I don’t know exactly how and why it happened, but A slowly became more of a punching bag for Sharen rather than a valued employee. She skipped the nice part, like she had with me, and went straight to ruthless.  This all started only a few weeks after A arrived.

Firstly, A is a fully qualified therapist, and brought in to treat patients, since I am leaving the clinic in 5 months. He was given all the new patients, that didn’t ask for me, which was fine. I think that Sharen must have had this vision in her head about what the situation would be like, A would come in and take the new patients, and be fully booked in no time, along with my busy schedule that equates to double the income. But what really happened is what normally happens, it takes people a while to build up their practice. And within 3 weeks that didn’t happen. A was frustrated, because honestly there weren’t that many new patients coming in other than patients for me, and Sharen was also frustrated.

A was found often sitting around the clinic reading or studying, or if there was no free room he would sit in the storage closet. There was my room, and Sharen’s room, but no space for him unless one of us wasn’t there. Picking up on this Sharen started asking him to do certain tasks to help market for the clinic. Giving talks, which is reasonable, meeting people at local areas, which is also reasonable, and delivering flyers about the clinic, which is questionable in my mind. Along with this he had picked up my work on blogging and social media. So here we have this new employee, who told me that he was hoping to be mentored by Sharen, who is now sitting along most of the time, handing out flyers, and becoming our media expert. Instead of being able to do what he loves doing.

It was a recipe for disaster.

Things slowly started blowing up. A and I became close during the following 4 weeks or so, I think I was his only source of companionship during those times. We talked about cases, practiced techniques, etc. More and more he was ignored by Sharen. I even remember one time in which A was standing next to a freshly painted wall when Sharen arrived. She snapped at him, “get away from that wall before you mark it”, A scuttled off to the storage closet. She has no respect for him, and slowly things are getting worse.

A told me that he was keeping his options open, looking for other positions closer to home. So we will see if he actually stays or if he ends up doing something else. It’s not an easy world to live in, the world of Sharen. But what she is doing now to A is some of the worst that I have seen from her.