A tale of 2 seminars

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They say the best doctors keep learning, and hopefully that applies to me–even if not today, maybe someday soon.  The area of study upon which I have focused a fresh set of crosshairs involves a cross between two desires: to further my intellectual arsenal (translation: more knowledge = better patient care) and to protect my dream and its happy manifestation from the clutches of those not-so-subtly waiting in the wings to take it away (TMA vs TBCE, anyone?).

Every smart endeavor is preceded by good research, and I did my best.  I’ve already discovered little speedbumps and potholes along my road (a little early for that, no?) but much like the experience of buying our awesome pickup from an extremely shady dealership, every intuitive fiber inside us said “yes”.  Alrighty then.

This isn’t a tiny feat.  It’ll take me at least a year and cost several thousand. I’ll be studying…a lot.  (Not that that’s a new thing by any stretch.)  And obtaining my new certification is just the beginning; there’s a shit-ton of continuing ed.  One such jump-through-me hoop makes sense, even if it’s semi-burdensome–to attend an annual national and international conference.  To further evaluate exactly what I’d be getting myself into, I took a gander at the topic lineup.

I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, it was right up my alley.  A three-day intensive that soared to near-utopian heights.  Scorcher titles included:

  • “Problematic Pain Medication Use vs Alternative Substitutions”
  • “Predictive Antibody Arrays: Identifying Autoimmune Disorders At Their Earliest Stages”
  • “The Search For Buried Clues In Breast Cancer: Osteopetrosis & Multiple Sclerosis”
  • “Integrative Biophysics: The new Emerging Frontier”
  • “Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Degenerative Disease: Macular Degeneration and Memory Disorders”
  • “Hormonal and Dermatitis Issues in Gluten Sensitivity”
  • “Toxicity Evaluations and Therapeutic Interventions In Mystery Illness”
  • “Reversing Neurological Trauma of Gluten Sensitivity”
  • “Targeting and Solving Complex Insulin Resistance Based Issues”
  • “The Slippery Slope of Sleep Debt and Other Sleep Related Issues”

How’s that for a “lowly” nutritionist?  (Tongue-in-cheek of course)

And then I checked my email account left over from school.  In my inbox were not one but two promo emails from the school regarding their annual Vegas hoo-rah: PSPS.  Ummm, yeah….

  • “Parker First Day Procedures For Patient Compliance”
  • “Secrets For Confidently Adjusting Children”
  • “Secrets For Removing Quality Interference at the Front Desk: Increasing Your Healing Consciousness”
  • “Parker Principles For Success, Health, and Happiness”
  • “Turning Dialog Dilemmas Into Powerful Wins”
  • “Match Your Lifestyle Choices To Your Genetic Blueprint For a Better, Longer Life”
  • “The ROF (Report of Findings) That Sets You Apart”
  • “Build An Amazing You: Create a Wow Practice”
  • “ROADS To Success: Exceptional Staff Meetings”
  • “Awareness of the Controversy of Statin Drugs”
  • “Free Social Marketing Strategies To Build Your Practice: How To Attract and Retain an Unlimited Number of New Patients Using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and More”
  • “Antidepressants, Children, and the Serotonin Syndrome: Children Are Our Future, Now Chiropractic Must Save Them”
  • “Mastering Marketing Through Prosperity”
  • “Expanding and Fulfilling Your Chiropractic Vision From the Inside Out”
  • “Re-evaluation Reports That Create Lifetime Patients”
  • “How To Reach Your Community Through Spinal Screenings”
  • “How the Pros Attract New Patients”
  • “The Four Secrets To Implementing a Compliance Program”

The best part is, these seminars fall into 3 categories:

  1. Same old has-beens of chiropractic preaching the same failed message to a combination of new, unsuspecting undergrads, or the especially gullible who latch onto every enthusiastic empty word
  2. Thinly-veiled infomercials for products (or occasionally, services), many of which have not been tested to back up the claims they make
  3. The rare genuinely useful piece of information that contains no salespitch and is strictly relevant information. Of all the seminar titles listed (there were more I didn’t list), about 3-4 fall into this category (and I listed some of those, to be fair).

There was a time when we drooled over stuff like this.  However, that was in undergrad, long before we started school.  The seminars were better way back when; although the speakers were the same people, they were fresher (and not just because they were new to us – they actually had a different, more vibrant energy).  The topics were (marginally) better.

We watched PSPS take a sharp abysmal downturn circa 2004 and after attending an additional seminar to give the preceding one the benefit of the doubt, we swore off all PSPS seminars until Parker mandated that all students attend (which should have been a clue in itself).

Folks, chiropractic doctors are indeed doctors.  Why in all that is holy would they spend a large majority of their time learning how to package and market chiropractic?  Hell, if chiropractic is so cool, why are they having such a hard time gaining acceptance from the masses?  Why must they constantly convene (several times a year!) to convince themselves and each other how miraculous they are and that chiropractic’s PR problem has nothing to do with the patient’s increasing wariness of the Flying 7 with quickly-plateauing results and place the blame on “we’re just not saying it right!”

The topics studied by the mere nutritionists are meatier, more intellectual, more clinical, and most importantly, more relevant.  After attending a conference such as the one described above, those people are going to return to their offices on Monday armed with an entire new arsenal of gunpowder – these people are going to be able to help people, to create real life-changing moments in peoples’ lives.  They’ve also made massive gains in national cross-disciplinary acceptance, they’ve tightened their requirements, and are gaining ever-greater recognition and scope of practice.

Compare that to the doctors who are simply revisiting the same strategies they stumbled upon in 1895 and reviewing how to hard-sell it to an ever-diminishing pool of willing recipients.  I believe the reason for all this can be found in the diametrically opposed mentalities summarized above.

Fringe marketer vs effective clinician: which one are you?

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