One day you will graduate from chiropractic school.
Stressful days of cramming for tests will be replaced with the stress of building a practice, paying off student loans, and making rent. You will be responsible for marketing, acquiring new patients, and managing staff, along with keeping up with the latest diagnostic and technique skills.
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?
Here is the great news: It doesn’t have to be. You can break down each of these responsibilities into bite-sized pieces by shadowing a DC.
Whether you plan to become an independent contractor or open your own office, do you think you will be more successful if you know how to hire properly and run the business side of a practice? If the answer is yes, follow these simple guidelines.
Locate a DC nearby
Ask your professors in school or call upon local chiropractors in the area. Tell them that you would appreciate the opportunity to shadow them.
Don’t expect compensation
Tell the DC who you want to shadow that you do not need to be paid for your time”” you’re simply in it for the learning potential. This will increase your chances of getting your foot in the door, especially when a doctor you wish to observe has never invited a student shadow.
Set a schedule
Determine the number of hours that you will dedicate to shadowing each week and stick to it, even if you have tests the next day.
Try it all
Make sure you personally observe every job in that office.
Shadowing provides the perfect opportunity to try your hand at a variety of tasks, so take advantage of the chance to learn about:
- Clinical skills
- Communication skills
- Reports of findings
- Marketing to new patients
- Teaching a healthcare class
- Patient screening
- Front-desk operation
- Writing a narrative
- X-ray positioning
- Hiring, training, and firing staff
- Using accounting software
- Filling out insurance claims
- Verifying insurance claims
- Internal marketing
The most common reason students fear shadowing is they don’t think they will have the time. The second reason is fear of choosing the wrong mentor.
Value of time
Do you think reading about Kemp’s test as told by Stanley Hoppenfeld will be more or less beneficial than witnessing a positive Kemp’s test in a shadowing opportunity?
Additionally, the more time you spend at a single location, the more responsibility will be afforded you. You can perform exams, set up for X-rays, deliver the report of findings, and make callbacks. This is basically an opportunity to do an unpaid associateship before you graduate.
The wrong mentor
If you end up with the wrong mentor, you will learn what you don’t want to do in practice. Keep this perspective, and you can’t lose with anyone you choose.
My first shadowing experience was with a doctor who did not practice ethically. I stayed for three months seeing exactly what I would never do when I got into practice.
My second and last shadowing experience lasted from my third trimester until after graduation. In that office, I saw exactly the way I wanted to practice.
Shadowing is an opportunity that not many students take advantage of. Most field doctors, when approached, will be happy to share and help a student””so don’t be shy. Ask and you shall receive!
Paul S. Inselman, DC, is president of Inselman Coaching and teaches chiropractors how to build practices based on sound business principles. He is also the co-author of the book Stepping Stones written with Deepak Chopra. He can be contacted at 888- 201-0567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.