Chiropractic careers

When someone considers a career, I believe that it is good to make the decision based on who you currently believe that you are or who you want to become. To make the decision of your lifetime career based solely on potential monetary return is a huge mistake. While the chiropractic profession can offer substantial monetary rewards, the best chiropractic physicians are passionate about helping people achieve and maintain optimum health. The truth is regardless of the career choice you make if you love what you do, you can make as much money as you want doing it. Why do I say that? Because when you are passionate about what you do the chances are great you will provide excellent care and when you do that it is the principle of business economics – people will pay for excellence.
In a speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs talked about connecting the dots in his life that took him down the path of his professional life. I recommend viewing that written speech and the video online. I think it is so important that I have the link for you here.
In looking back over my 34 years in practice I am able to connect the dots of my career that brought me where I am today.
One major dot in my life occurred when I was 11 years old. My family was on a road trip and was involved in car accident. Another vehicle hit the back end of our International Scout truck causing it to roll over three times coming to a rest upside down. Had it not been for a suitcase that was wedged beside me, I would have been crushed in the back end of the truck. Thankfully everyone survived, including my mother whose head smashed out the side window. Unfortunately after the accident my mother developed severe headaches to the point where she couldn’t stand because of the vertigo. While she may have survived the accident in some sense I had lost my mother – she couldn’t take care of me like she had and in many ways I had to start taking care of myself.
Our church pastor suggested my mother see his son who was a chiropractic doctor. That chiropractic doctor found misalignments in her neck, which are frequently referred to as vertebral subluxations. He was able to adjust them and relieve pressure which eliminated the headaches and dizziness. That chiropractor gave me my mom back.
From that point on my father would point to me and flip his index finger at me, wink and say, “You sure would make a great chiropractor.” He must have said that thousands of times while I was growing up, seeing something in me that at the time I was not aware of or could not see. Sometimes in our lives we are lucky enough to get insight from another person close to us that sees something that we might never be able to see which can help guide and direct our lives. I am fortunate to have had my father who helped me see that “dot”.
I listened to my father and from an early age I felt was to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. To this day I have always felt that I was “called” to be a chiropractor.
I’m not saying that every potential chiropractic student needs to have a life-changing experience like I did. However, the decision to become a chiropractor needs to be made based on decisions involving how you want to contribute to the world rather than the potential monetary return.
Chiropractic care involves helping people do the things that healthy people do. It involves great nutrition, proper water intake, exercise instruction, proper sleep positions, spinal and muscular structural care, positive mental attitude, life planning and counseling. Chiropractic physicians work with patients that want to correct their health problems, if possible, without the use of drugs or surgery. The chiropractic profession believes that conservative chiropractic care first makes sense. I don’t know of any of my colleagues that are truly against the proper use of medicines or surgery we just think that every option should be explored first before someone chooses those. As a chiropractic physician, I believe that my purpose is to provide true conservative care to my patients. If the care that I recommend in my treatment for them is not bringing the results that we desire, then medication or surgery may be part of my recommendations. We just think that appropriate care should be in the right order. Surgeries don’t always go right, and the results of medication is not guaranteed without the risk of side effects.
Today’s chiropractic physician works very well with others in the healthcare community. In order to do that, you have to be well-versed in the scientific literature, and know the risks and benefits of all of the care that you provide or that you refer your patients to.
If you are thinking about a career as a doctor of chiropractic, here are some things to consider:
Are you the type of person who likes to find the truth about what really makes a person healthy and wants to embody that lifestyle?
Do you like to help other people solve problems, work and counsel with them to help them figure out their next steps for optimum health?
Do you like helping people achieve success for the pure joy it?
Do you often choose your own pathway that with common sense reveals answers rather mindlessly following the crowd and established systems?
Are you fairly intelligent, like to work hard and don’t quit easily when the going gets tough? The courses taken to be a Doctor of Chiropractic are nearly identical to those taken to become a Medical Doctor. The differences are that chiropractic students have far more knowledge in nutrition and have extensive knowledge on neuromuscular skeletal care and treatment procedures while medical students study pharmacology and take minor surgery courses.
Are you the type of person that can remain strong in in your beliefs in order to tell people exactly what they need to do in order to achieve their goals and not let people tell you what they’d like to do when it differs?
Do you have the desire to be responsible to run your own business and look at the business side without compromising your philosophical principles and ethics? You can’t provide more care than your patients need, but conversely, you must have the conviction to tell your patients the truth so they don’t get less care then they need. One of my good friends and colleagues says it like this: You have to have the conviction to be able to “Deliver the news.”
One final recommendation any potential student that is considering a career in chiropractic care is to have experienced chiropractic care for yourself. By doing so you will know through a personal story and experience what the potential for chiropractic care is for your future patients.
And my last recommendation? After receiving chiropractic care for yourself find a local chiropractic doctor that you can arrange to have lunch with and talk about the profession. Take that opportunity to ask questions and get their perspective on the field.
I wish you the best of luck in your future career decisions.

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