– WHAT DO “OLD GUYS” HAVE TO OFFER –
When I was a young man, a new graduate from Palmer College of Chiropractic I always enjoyed “hanging” with the older DC’s at professional conventions, forums and seminars. I always got a bang out of listening to them talk about “the old days, the way it used to be” as well as their stories about patients they are or had treated.
Guess I was more fortunate than many in that my Dad was a Chiropractor. When on college break and home I looked forward to going to his office and watching as he treated patients with a multitude of different ills. Those patients with high blood pressure, asthma, menstrual difficulty, allergies, migraine headaches, gastric disorders, infertility….even neck and back pain.
I most enjoyed going with him when he’d be called out in the middle of the night to treat an emergency at their home or his office. I sincerely believe these experiences assisted in making me a better doctor. Assisted me in understanding the importance of compassion, empathy and the value of being of service to my patients as opposed to the monetary rewards to be realized from that service.
While I have/had tremendous respect for my elders….especially those of the Chiropractic profession I also had my own way of doing things. These “old guys” had much more experience than me, yet they are from a totally different generation. Surely (I thought) the practice management ideas and procedures they incorporated are out dated….antiquated….won’t work in today’s modern era of Chiropractic. If one is to develop a large, successful practice (I thought) one must use the tools of the time. One would have to avail themselves to “modern day” practice management procedures and ideas. One must attend seminars specifically dedicated to that end result.
Shortly before I opened the doors on my practice (I was barely 23 years old) my father
advised me to attend the most popular practice building/personal development seminar of the
time. I had no money and there were not credit/debit cards back in “my day.” Did discover if I
wanted to attend I could do so by paying $25.00. In addition I would have make out 11 more
checks dated one month apart for $25.00 each. That is what I did…..I was in…..and I took a
seat front row center.
The material presented by this teacher from Thursday afternoon through Saturday
afternoon covered every aspect of dealing with a practice in my day and time. Everything
from how to market my practice, do new patient intake. The art and science of the
consultation and importance of an excellent examination. Why diagnostic x-rays should be
taken. How to and why patients should be given a written report of findings. The value of
educating patients to use Chiropractic as their primary form of health care. Encouraging
patients to refer their spouse, kids, friends and neighbors for Chiropractic care. Finally…how
to them lifetime Chiropractic patients.
The emphasis was not on how to treat hundreds of patients a day or week. It was not on how to make boat loads of money. The emphasis was on service. What was hammered home was money is nothing more than a by-product of service rendered. If you want to make more money all you have to do is treat more people. The way to serve more and more people was to serve people more….go the extra mile….do more than the patient or anyone would expect be done.
Needless to say the longer I sat in his classes the more antsy I became. I couldn’t wait
to get home and start putting into practice what I had been taught. I couldn’t wait to share my
excitement with my wife. I had to thank my Dad for insisting I attend this seminar; spend
money I didn’t have to do what had to be done. I found myself eager to return for more, bring
my wife, bring my assistant. I was rip roaring ready to go. As I look back on that experience (and the multiple seminars I attended afterward) it dawned on me….the guy teaching all this fantastic information was an “old guy.” Not only was he an “old guy” he was a classmate of my father at Palmer/Davenport. WOW.
What I’d like for the younger generation of Chiropractors, spouses, assistants to get
from this true story is the principles taught me (and thousands of others) by this old guy are
as applicable to Chiropractic practice today as they were “back in my day.” They provide the
best, most solid foundation from which to build a practice. Patients are no different today than they were 20,30,50,100 years ago. Patients have the same fears, aspirations, and desire for unimpeded health today as they have always had.
Patients want to be treated as individuals not numbers. They want the best service their doctor can provide. While they don’t really expect their doctor to go the “extra mile” they are
so very appreciative when he/she does.
Chiropractic is no different today than it has been since September 18, 1895. The objective remains the same. Locate and reduce/remove vertebral subluxations. Restore
neurological integrity to the body.