A Look at the Real World: 3 Shadowing Experiences
Though not rearing its formidable head quite yet, reality is coming. Right at the bottom of this page there is a little black box that counts down to the day I will graduate with my Doctorate of Chiropractic, and that 2.3 years currently showing give me quite a buffer between now and when I go into practice. Yet every trimester break from school reminds me just how real that future is, and how quickly it will sneak up.
As of the middle of this month, I completed three trimesters of my ten-trimester chiropractic schooling, and after each trimester I have had the opportunity to shadow a different chiropractor. Fascinatingly to me, each has been a vastly unique experience; three entirely different ways of practicing.
Somersworth Chiropractic, Somersworth, NH
First, I headed home to shadow my own chiropractor, Dr. Erik Bakke. My family has seen him and his father for a couple of decades now, a testament to his skill and personality. The office is spacious, comfortable and private, set in a working-class New Hampshire town. Treatment here is thoroughly focused on good old hands-on adjusting, and the doctor is a master of it. Locals with labor-intensive jobs swear by his ability to keep them working, and he sees my own family for everything from high school running injuries to my grandmother’s general health. Increasing the practice’s accessibility to the community, Dr. Bakke and his associates accept insurance- and all of the administrative burdens that come with it- so here I was able to get a good idea of the business side of private practice. The front desk at the practice is a model of customer service and good record-keeping, matching the reliable treatment experience provided by Dr. Bakke.
The Inspira Center for Foundational Health, Dover, NH
Next up, I shadowed at a practice I connected with through a state chiropractic professional organization. Dr. Satya Sardonicus has an impressive educational background in human health, characterized by her undergraduate studies at UMass Amherst, where she combined multiple fields of science to receive a degree in Psychoneuroimmunology. Like Dr. Bakke, she is also a second-generation chiropractor, raised in a family that paid close attention to all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, physical activity, a stimulating intellectual environment, and spiritual stability. Her experience with, and thorough understanding of, this lifestyle makes Dr. Satya a perfect example of my image of a conservative care physician- a doctor able to provide uninvasive measures to care for everyday health. Specializing in pediatrics, I saw her caring for a young baseball player’s overuse injuries, as well as providing counseling on living with allergies and food sensitivities. She did a great job of putting to use the in-depth basic sciences material that I have experienced in so many classes in my first year of chiropractic studies. The office is uniquely set in a beautiful new building built to be a home, allowing all of the amenities of a house, including a kitchen where the doctor can give cooking lessons after hours, and providing a setting for the doctor to set an example of how all of this fits into everyday life.
Carolina Sports Clinic, Charlotte, NC
Most recently (last week), I flew down to Charlotte, North Carolina, to spend time with Dr. Josh Kollman. A graduate of New York Chiropractic College, Dr. Kollman returned during our Homecoming weekend in July to take the time to talk to students about building his practice. I should note that since his 2007 graduation he has also become official chiropractor for the Carolina Panthers and PGA Tour, and has two successful sports practices in Charlotte. Clearly one distinguishing characteristic of his career is a specialty in athletics- during the day I spent in the office he worked with runners, triathletes, a bodybuilder, Crossfitters, cyclists, a young soccer player and others. This was his goal since entering chiropractic school, so he built his skill set around athletes’ needs, incorporating ART and other techniques and tools for treating soft tissues like muscle as well as joint motion. His two current clinics are high-energy and staffed with a variety of practitioners: chiropractors with pediatric and acupuncture specialties, an athletic trainer, a dietitian and a massage therapist. Integration into the athletic and medical communities also makes them unique. The main clinic is in a very large professional park, where they are well-connected with other doctors, making referrals easy. The other location is within a TrySports store, where the doctors work with injuries, prevention, and making sure that athletes know their physical needs prior to fitting for shoes, bikes, and other equipment.
One of the main reasons that I chose to study chiropractic is the exciting range of practice options doctors may choose to pursue. My experiences in these three practices motivate me to aspire to such impact and success as these doctors have achieved in their respective communities. They also remind me the importance of my current studies.
My shadowing has also brought me to the realization of how many of the little details and desires are already completely relevant to my practice planning. My specialty interests, desired location, target demographics, integration with the local medical community- these are all easy to talk about and think about, but as I get more ideas from shadowing, I have taken to recording them so that very soon they can be part of a real business plan.
Yikes, real world, take it easy. No need to come up on me so fast. But don’t worry, when you do, I’ll be ready.
Hands In Training is finally on Facebook! Go ahead and ‘like’ it to fill in the gaps when there is no time for blogging. You’ll also catch links to some really good articles elsewhere on the internet.