The path for a chiropractic student includes not only a commitment to study but also understanding goals and preparing for the eventual practice of chiropractic
When most of us begin our chiropractic education, we have come from taking college courses either at a four-year university or a community college. Chiropractic school is essentially graduate course work for a vocation that you will hopefully be doing for many years to come.
While it is important to keep your head in the books and study hard, you also need to understand what your eventual goal is the practice of chiropractic. Once you leave chiropractic school, you enter a world of taking care of people. All patients care about is how you can get them well. They are already assuming you have passed your classes and are qualified to be taking care of them.
The mentality of the chiropractic student
The mentality you have coming into chiropractic college sets the tone for the type of doctor you will become. You have heard that what you put in is what you get out. That is exactly what goes on during your academic years at chiropractic school. Put your efforts where they count and you will do yourself a great service towards your future.
See how this statement resonates with you: “Being a good student makes you a better chiropractor.” I am not talking about the extremes of trying to straight A’s or the opposite of just barely passing the next test. That type of thinking is the mentality of an undergrad college student. I am talking about actually utilizing the information you are exposed to daily and understanding it because it will likely be useful when you are out in practice.
I have a few suggestions for you to become a great student that transitions into a great DC:
1. Learn; don’t just memorize the material in class.
When you memorize and regurgitate for tests, you usually forget the information within a few days. Quite a lot of the information you learn in school will be helpful for practice. Try and come up with stories which help you learn the information and make it part of your permanent memory.
2. Study in groups to help your understanding and communication skills with others.
Being a chiropractor is all about excellent communication and teaching skills. You had better get used to this idea because if you don’t talk with or teach your patients, they will leave you and go somewhere else. One of our greatest strengths as a profession is how well we talk to our patients and explain things that no other doctor does.
Study groups are a great way to help you learn concepts from different perspectives. Furthermore, they allow you to teach and explain things to your classmates who are struggling. Remember the old axiom: “See one, do one, teach one.” That is how we learn.
3. Practice your psycho-motor adjusting skills, carefully and respectfully with each other.
Every chiropractor in practice has been in your shoes. We have gone through all of the stages of learning to adjust the bones of the spine. We begin with initial trepidation and nervousness and eventually gain confidence by doing it every day.
Be respectful to your fellow chiropractic student and try not to over-adjust or be too heavy handed when setting up on their bodies. We always remember the ones who have used too much force or performed a particularly painful adjustment. Try to make sure that is not you.
4. Talk to your instructors about relating what you are learning to clinical practice.
Your instructors are there to teach you so you can be the best you can be. These people also have lives when they are not in school. Many of these instructors run or have run successful practices. Take the time to talk with them and you will learn a ton of great information useful to your after school life. They will help you learn what they are teaching you so you are not just memorizing, regurgitating then forgetting after the test is over.
5. Take as many technique electives and seminars as you possibly can.
The message I bring to you is to always go the extra mile in your schooling because it will spill over into going the extra mile for your patients in practice. Get a good foundation and learn all you can because many of you will never have the time you have now to put into learning. Being a good chiropractic student will make you a better chiropractic practitioner.