This post appeared originally on the Chiropractic Economics magazine website. It has been reprinted with permission from the author.
Strategies and skills you’ll use for life
Every student wants to believe that school will prepare them for the world they will face when they graduate. All that hard work and effort will pay off, and they will have something to show for the effort they put into that degree.
Unfortunately, life is uncertain. I worked hard in chiropractic school and got involved in various activities in hopes that it would help me when I graduated, and it did to some extent. But the presentation I gave at the American Chiropractic Sports Symposium was that one conference that made all the difference. You don’t know what will work for you, so it can be helpful to look at strategies for preparing for a professional career while you’re still in school.
Expect the best, prepare for the worst
You can land a great job or start an amazing practice right out of school. Yet, there are many who don’t.
I was lucky because the podcast I started while I was a student gave me the credibility I needed to make the next big jump after graduation. Do your best to prepare for anything by being engaged as a student. This doesn’t mean doing everything; it means participating and being an active part of everything you do so that you learn the maximum.
Focusing on your adjusting skills and your patient communication is important, and you will learn a lot about this in school. But another aspect of school is character development.
This happens naturally during school, but you can improve your ability to be professional when you graduate by taking charge of your self-development and character development. You need a support network — maybe it is a counselor, books, mastermind groups, an accountability partner or a good friend. Character development doesn’t happen overnight, and you will need to create your own program or join a program that resonates with you. You will use these skills for the rest of your life, so it is important to focus on them while you’re still in school.
The kind of student you are will be the kind of doctor you are. Develop good habits while in school that will preserve your integrity and ensure that you make the right choices when you get out of school. Being in a quarter-million dollars of debt when you graduate can influence decisions that may not be in the best interest of the patient. By maintaining your integrity while in school and doubling down on patient-centered practices when you graduate, you will ensure a professional attitude.
Like money, the responsibility that comes with being a doctor will only accentuate your natural tendencies. Knowing your values, priorities and beliefs while you are in school gives you three tools to help you become the best doctor you can be. It is likely that you got into this profession to serve those in need, and you won’t lose track of this purpose, despite the stress of your studies and presence of debt.
Noah Volz, DC, is a recent graduate of Life Chiropractic College West and now practices in the San Francisco Bay area. Find him at proactivesf.com or join the DC2Be Revolution Mentorship Facebook group.