As you learn to become a chiropractor, it’s easy to get bogged down with classes and lose sight of your end goal. One of the ways to stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize is to find a mentor. A mentor is someone you can lean on for advice, and someone who is familiar with your situation. During my time at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), I have shadowed multiple doctors and continue to call upon each of them as a mentor. Shadowing a professional and potential mentor is highly beneficial. Here are five reasons why.
1. Been there, done that
Since I am in the Doctor of Chiropractic program, my mentors are all chiropractors. Not all of them attended CUKC, but all of them know the stress that comes with being in the program. They can calm me down when I am stressed by an upcoming multi-test week or board exams.
No matter what profession interests you, shadow someone from that profession because not only can they tell you about the school that they went to, but they can also tell you how much time they dedicated to studying and how they handled tough classes.
2. Take what you like and go
From the moment you step into another doctor’s office to the moment you leave, you see what a patient sees. Shadowing will benefit you as a doctor because you can determine what you liked about each office and you can set up your future office accordingly. Every time I shadowed a doctor, I recorded notes about what I liked and did not like about their office space and location, business processes, and patient interactions. Doing this gives you key information when you want to become a chiropractor who is successful in his or her community.
Shadowing several professionals in my field is helping me to take out some of the guesswork as I plan my practice. I’ll have less trial and error by implementing the best ideas and practices I’ve received from each!
3. Step back and watch them work
There is no doubt that you learn a ton while you are learning to become a chiropractor. However, there are just some things that you will not learn until you are out in practice. To get a small sample of these hidden gems, you need to shadow a doctor. Whether it’s learning how to talk with patients or recognizing the common injuries you might treat most frequently, shadowing shines a light on what to expect.
One of the biggest things that I learned from shadowing is how to work with insurance companies and what to expect when billing. I was not a business major, so the more I can learn about the business side of how to become a chiropractor and own my practice, the better!
4. Hello opportunities
How easy is it to just call up a doctor, say you are in the Doctor of Chiropractic program at CUKC, and ask if you may job shadow? Pretty dang easy. A phone call is all it takes to get the ball rolling. On top of how easy shadowing is, most of these learning experiences turn into job opportunities. Several of the doctors I visited are planning to expand their practices, which means that they are looking to hire an associate soon.
When it comes to hiring someone, would you rather hire someone that you don’t know or someone who shadowed you and who you really liked? Well, I would definitely go with the person that I know. I continue to talk with a couple of the doctors that I’ve shadowed, and they are genuinely interested in me when I graduate. How awesome is that?
5. Molded to perfection
Once you get past all of your technique classes at CUKC, you begin to take electives. These electives help mold you into the type of chiropractor that you would like to be. However, what if you do not know what type of chiropractor you want to be? Well, go shadow a doctor and learn how they treat patients.
Before I came into the Doctor of Chiropractic program, I had no idea what an activator doctor did. So I looked up an activator doctor in the area to shadow, and because of the shadowing experience, I will be taking an activator elective next trimester. Seeing how another doctor practices is eye-opening. You can either do what they do or run your practice differently.
No downside to shadowing
When it comes to shadowing, I don’t see any downside. It’s a learning experience, and guess what? It’s free! When it comes down to it, the best advice I can give you as a new student is to get out there and shadow. I hope this blog has helped open your mind up to shadowing and trust me; most people will love to have you in their office.
About the CUKC College of Chiropractic
Ryan Grenier is an alumnus of the CUKC College of Chiropractic.
If you want a great resource about the chiropractic profession overall and how to become a chiropractor, get the free ebook, Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.