|Your Article Regarding Chiropractic Salaries
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By Michael Dorausch, DC
The following arrived the other day via email. The person's name has been excluded, but I felt this topic should be addressed publicly, as it may help more than one person make a conscious and educated decision about a career in chiropractic.
I just finished reading your article regarding chiropractic salaries, and first want to say thank you for delivering such helpful and unbiased information. As I am sure you receive hundreds of emails like mine, I was hoping you would have time to answer a few of my questions. It is sometimes difficult to find practicing chiropractors that are willing to be honest and open about their practice, chiropractic principles etc.
help people return to optimal health with chiropractic
From the time I started my undergraduate education I knew I wanted to enter the health field, and when I began talking to a close family friend (who is a chiropractor) I knew this was what I wanted to do. My dream was to be a chiropractor solely because I wanted to help people, and the idea that I could help people return to optimal health by reestablishing the way the human body was built to operate enticed me immensely. This family friend has been extremely successful in chiropractic (she made her first million her first year out of the DC program).
This is not at all my goal, I just hope to be able to make some kind of a living from the profession. I began going to Chiropractic conventions with her (Dynamic Essentials etc.) and kept in close contact with the schools I wanted to apply to and did everything I could to stay on this track. However, I got discouraged because many chiropractors made me feel like the field of chiropractic is a business rather than a health care operation. And also, that as a new chiropractor it is nearly impossible to make enough money to survive, considering new insurance regulations etc.
It has been hard not to give into the, I guess what one would call negative attitude, of those regarding this issue. What I have found in my research has recently been pulling me away from pursuing my dreams. I was hoping to be able to talk with you about the reality of some of these situations, and what you feel the driving purpose is at the core of many chiropractic practices. I am very sorry for the long email, I'm just hoping to receive some reliable information from a clearly knowledgeable source!
Okay, this is me speaking (Michael Dorausch), and I want to first say thank you for taking the time to send me e-mail. I won't say that I am unbiased, but I will be honest, at least in the truth that I know as a practicing chiropractor. You are me 17 years ago, and it appears you're experiencing one of life's major contradictions, so let's get to it.
From the time you started your undergraduate education you had some sort of spark, which was followed by the lighting of a flame, after talking with a family chiropractor friend. That is a similar scenario for many of us that are chiropractors today, have been chiropractors in the past, and even those that went to chiropractic school and failed. The thought of being able to help people, mixed with input from a magnetic individual (a chiropractor in this case), can be intoxicating. As a result, you developed a dream, "to be a chiropractor solely because I wanted to help people."
You begin with a singleness of purpose (solely helping people) and then you settle for making some kind of living from the profession, and clearly tell me your goal is not to be extremely successful. You then provide yourself with three convenient obstacles. 1) discouragement of chiropractic as a business 2) impossibility of survival (insurance regulations as an example) 3) the negative attitude of others.
Got your attention? Discouragement, impossibility, and negativity. Those three will kill any chiropractic dream (or any worthwhile dream for that matter). Trust me, the Internet is full of chiropractic failures, who feel a need to perpetuate the negativity, so they never have to face the truth. For them, there was no dream and there were no goals. I gather you have more going for you than that.
In my experience, dreams are cool, but reality is where the magic happens. Ever hear the expression "bigger than my wildest dreams?" Let's add reality to this dream of helping people. For my mindset, I prefer "serving people" over "helping" people, but whatever works for you.
When we start out with goals and dreams, we are typically idealistic and impressionable, so we have to be extremely careful as to what information we allow in. Going to events like Dynamic Essentials is great (I did so for years) but you have to understand that is a very business minded event, know that, even if someone tells you it's not.
We all have our insecurities and fears, and to hide that when attending events like DE, I imagine some chiropractors are going to puff up their feathers and boast about million dollar practices, the numbers of people being seen, and the other business related things taking place. Can't say I've never been guilty of such behavior, and admittedly, I'm a work in progress.
Where's the service to humanity discussion? Where's the love for the sake of loving, serve for the sake of serving, give for the sake of giving conversation? That's a little bit more difficult to talk about. But if you stay focused on your goals, dreams and purpose, you'll meet the ones that will share their wisdom with you. But you must seek it out.
Making some kind of living in chiropractic is not going to cut it. Get that obstacle off the table or don't go to chiropractic school, it's that simple. You'll help a lot more people when you're not in debt, I know that from personal experience. You may think you can do it right out of the gate, but life has a way of wearing you down (universal forces), and if you don't have fuel in reserve (cash in bank and paying off student loans and other related debt) you're gonna crash and go negative, becoming a failed chiropractic statistic.
You mention an "extremely successful" chiropractor that made her first million in her first year out of the DC program. I can see that perspective from someone that has not been in practice, and maybe it will motivate you or even discourage you, you've got to figure that out for yourself. Define for you, what extremely successful is, and own it in your heart and mind. You are here on this planet, defying the odds over millions of others that tried to get into this world when you did, so some may say you're pretty damn successful already. For me, I'd want to hear that the chiropractor went to the office for 30 more years and continued serving her community, that is success for my current place in life.
Insurance is one of the easiest obstacles we can set up for ourselves, a perfect way to take no responsibility for our actions, should we fail. We equate insurance reimbursement with paying off loans and debt, and we combine it with the business of chiropractic, putting helping people (or service to humanity) in a separate category. That is flawed. If you are banking on insurance reimbursement to pay off your student loan debt, do not go to chiropractic school, it's a bad strategy. Who then, is going to pay your expenses, your student loans, and all the other costs you are to experience in life?
Let's review a few things. You're considering chiropractic because you want to help people but you will incur debt throughout the process. Correct? The best plan that I know on how to accomplish that is to serve people chiropractic (get amazingly good at delivering adjustments) and create a fair exchange for doing so. Attract people into your life that value your services (you'll develop and improve upon this skill while in practice) and serve them in a way that is congruent with your intention to truly help people. 100 chiropractors may tell you 100 different ways to help people and be successful, and they may even all work, I just know what works for me.
Insurance may be there or it may not. I heard the same thing about insurance 18 years ago and as far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. Know this, if you deliver the goods, people will value your chiropractic care and they will find ways to pay for it. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either trying to drive fear into you for some alternative agenda, or they simply don't have a clue.
I can't guarantee you'll make a great chiropractor, that is in your department. I'll say that so far, the rewards for me have been greater than I had anticipated, and I wouldn't trade a chiropractic perspective on life, for anything. Regardless of your choice, don't stress it, and have no regrets. Easier said than done, but when you're on the correct path, you'll know it.