Are you ready to be a chiropractor?
06 March 2017
Chiropractic College equips you with a wealth of knowledge, ability and skill; finally getting that certificate should be one of the proudest moments of your life.
“Congratulations, you are now a chiropractor!”
All you need to be super successful is to start practicing. Sounds simple enough?
Our research shows that most people who graduate from Chiropractic College in the UK face a lot of uncertainty at the start to their careers. In fact, the first two years of practice can be so challenging that a large number leave the profession in that time. Many also struggle financially and most struggle to stay connected with the reason why they decided to become a chiropractor in the first place.
Being a chiropractor is more than just clinical expertise; it also requires an understanding of how to deliver an excellent standard of service, and be an effective communicator. Chiropractic College gives you the clinical skills, but not training in the latter.
If you want to be successful, then there are some important questions to ask before selecting your first associateship. Often, people accept a position because it is convenient, seems like a nice place, or because they are flattered someone offered them a position at all! But before you commit yourself, ask yourself a few important questions.
Top 5 Questions to ask yourself before taking a position.
Q1. Will there be a consistent stream of new patients, and will I be given the tools to build my own patient base?
This is particularly important if you are working in a small team alongside more experienced chiropractors. If new patients were scarce, and you were a business owner – who would you favour when a new patient walks in the door? The new graduate, or the chiropractor with a strong track record of converting and retaining patients?
New patients are out there but it is a highly competitive environment. If you want to succeed, you will need to quickly develop the skills and expertise to attract them into your practice.
Tip: Make sure that the practice you join has healthy new patient sources and will help you develop the skills you need to go out and bring people into the practice.
Q2. Now that I am in the real world, where people pay full price, how do I get my patients to take care?
The single biggest challenge for new graduates is that their Report of Findings is very focused on the case presentation. This is a great way to build clinical confidence, but not a great way to communicate with patients. Do you know how to communicate clearly and effectively? So that people trust you and have confidence in you?
When you are asking patients to spend a significant amount of money on their health, you need to be able to build trust quickly, and then present them with a solution to their problem that makes sense to them. Knowing how to communicate effectively can be the
difference between 50% of your hard-earned new patients sticking to your plan, or 90%! Imagine the difference this could make in your first year?
Tip: avoid practices with scripts and pressure – patients will commit provided they feel cared for and listened to.
Q3. Do I know how to retain patients and ensure they stick to the plan of management?
It may surprise you to know that for many chiropractors, this remains a challenge throughout their careers. Often, right up until the day they retire. The problem is that as the pain starts to ease a little, the patient’s crisis has passed, and so they start to value what you do less and less with each appointment. Often disappearing from your diary well before you have helped them to be the best they can be.
The chiropractors with the best patient outcomes, and the best reputations, are the ones who are confidently able to engage with their patients. Great chiropractors quickly build a trusting relationship and communicate the value of what they do. Make sure that your new associateship offers you the mentoring, coaching, and support to help you learn how to do this. Failing in this area will half your success in the early years and make it a long uphill struggle towards your potential.
Tip: If you are joining a team which doesn’t offer you structured coaching in these key areas, ask if they will offer you support from an external coach.
Q4. Do I want a job, or a career?
You may be disappointed to hear that your certificate to practice does not mean that your learning is over. There is still much you need to know to be successful. Most qualified professions, (such as accountants, doctors and architects) insist on graduates spending 1 or 2 years in a training programme to help them develop the skills they need to practice in the real world.
In that time, they are coached by successful people who teach them how to win clients, build practices and retain their customers. They support them through the inevitable highs and lows, the successes and the failures. They help you learn the things you need and build your confidence.
We think it is a great shame that so much potential in our profession is lost through a lack of structured personal growth and development.
Tip: Ask about the business development programme offered and insist that there is an opportunity for you to personally grow, and within the team.
Q5. Is there a team behind you, and do you have a mentor?
The most successful people in the world all have mentors. And they often attribute their success to their mentor, and the team around them. A mentor supports you through the difficulties ahead and will build your confidence and ability. They tell you what works, and more importantly, what to avoid.
Chiropractic businesses tend to be smaller and intimate which can be great so long you have colleagues to share your learning experiences with. In that team, you will want a mentor who has a personal and vested interest in you being successful. Sometimes a principal chiropractor will struggle to give you the time. That’s understandable; they are busy being a chiropractor, running a business and worrying about new patients.
Sometimes the best mentors are people who were in your shoes only a few years ago but who have already learned the lessons you need to learn, so you can thrive.
Tip: Ask about the mentor you will work with before you put your personal success in someone else’s hands.
You deserve a career with a great coaching and learning programme to set your career off to the best possible start. Being patient focused requires a set of disciplines. Taking the best care of your patients can only happen when your career is nurtured and supported.
Demand high standards and don’t join a team which can’t offer you the resources and infrastructure to launch your practice.
At Willow Chiropractic, we take your career seriously. And we passionately believe that your success is our success; so we invest heavily to help you be your best.
If you would like more advice or guidance on the best way to build your chiropractic career, then please do contact us. Better still, join us on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. We are having a New Graduate Open Day in our Training Centre in Bristol. You have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain.
At the event, you will:
- Meet the team of professionals who have built one of the most successful chiropractic businesses in the UK in less than 5 years. Learn from their expertise in marketing, customer service and delivering the highest standards of chiropractic care.
- Hear from a graduate who went from zero to approx. 70 appointments pw in less than 5 months in practice. And find out how he is planning to double that in the next 6 months.
- Find out about the Willow Graduate Scheme and how to apply for a space.
Finally, congratulations on joining what we believe is one of the best professions in the world!
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”
– STEVE JOBS