What aspiring chiropractors need to know…

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…because boy, I wish someone had told me.

Disclaimer: what I’m about to say is in no particular order other than that which I thought of it.  Also, what I’m about to say is from my own perspective, my own experience, and my own perspective of others’ experiences.  Your mileage may vary.  Also, I may add to this post or create new posts on this topic in the future as needed.

First things first.  This should go without saying, but for some reason, it doesn’t: if you’re entering chiropractic school, please understand fully exactly what it is you’re doing.  You are going to school to become a chiropractic doctor.  It is expensive.  It is hard.  It is long.  It is demanding, in every sense of the word.  It is every bit as difficult as regular medical school, and sometimes even tougher, and that assertion comes from the mouths of other MDs in the know.

When you finish, however, it’s not the cash cow that those with vested interests claim it is.  This means you have to truly want to become a Doctor of Chiropractic, and you have to want it bad.  I’ve been approached by several massage therapists (who cannot legally diagnose or treat any particular condition) who want to continue providing massage therapy, but earn a chiropractic license so that they can obtain the legal right to diagnose and treat.

I have news: with the amount of information you learn, especially about the biomechanics and orthopedics of the joints and especially the spine, and all of the bone information, radiology classes (3 years’ worth!) and all the spinal adjusting, you can’t just invest this amount of time and money just to augment a massage therapy practice; you have to also really want to adjust.

For those of you who began to consider becoming a chiropractor via some Top 10 list of Hot Jobs 2010, stop now.  Really.  For the love of yourself, your family, your bank account, your would-be classmates and professors, and your would-be patients, both during school and post-graduation, just stop.  Your heart has to truly be in this or you will be miserable from the word go.  You will go through life resenting yourself, your school, your instructors, and the chiropractic field, and you will eventually begin to badmouth the chiropractic field, and we have to battle through enough undue bullshit negative press already; we don’t need your help.  If you’re concerned chiefly about money, do everyone a favor, save yourself much wasted time, and take your shallow materialistic ass elsewhere.

CAN you make money at this profession?  Yes.  But here’s the secret: it sounds cheesy, but it’s 100% true–you have to operate from your heart first.  Yes, for real.  If after you graduate and open your own practice, all you’re thinking about as you schedule that new patient or adjust that regular is that what you’re doing is bringing in another chunk towards your rent or your light bill, the patient can, and will, sense that your priorities are elsewhere and that your heart is not with them as a doctor’s heart should be.  And they will go elsewhere.  Trust me.  Patients may not have doctor degrees and they may not be psychic enough to live inside your head, but they are not stupid; they are smarter than you think they are and they will pick up on your preoccupation and insincerity and they will find someone who truly cares about them.

The moral of the story is, take care of your patients and put them first, and don’t worry about the money; if your priorities are in the right place and you’re helping those who come to see you, the money will more than take care of itself.

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