Starting A Chiropractic Career That Doesn’t Get On Your Nerves

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In Part 1 of our three-part series featuring three recent Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) graduates, the doctors gave you their advice on applying to and surviving chiropractic school.

What tips do they have about making the transition from school to work easier? Read on to find out.

The chiropractors

Dr. Joe Pratile obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology at Western University and graduated from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in 2011.

“Everything that seems black and white in school may be grey in the real world. Transitioning to work may not be exactly what you envisioned.” —Joy Arciaga, DC

Dr. Stephanie Anisko earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree with high honour from Michigan State University, where she competed on an athletic scholarship for springboard diving. She has been practising for five years since graduating from CMCC in 2007, and now works at AIM Health Group in Mississauga. She is also the team chiropractor for the Canadian National Springboard and Platform Diving team.

Dr. Joy Arciaga graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Science Psychology and also completed his studies at CMCC in 2011.

Both Joe and Joy have each been practising for one-and-a-half years and currently work at Vita Integrative Health Clinic in Toronto.

Entering the workforce

The transition from school to work can sometimes be difficult. What have you learned from your own experience?

Joe: You can’t skip any steps. Life is all about the journey – not the destination – and so be prepared to make mistakes, fall down, get up and don’t ever give up. If you truly want to be successful in life and chiropractic, you need to be clear on what you want.

“Do you want to be rehab-based, pain-based, wellness-based, subluxation-based, muscle-release techniques-based, or use more physical therapy modalities?” —Joe Pratile, DC

For example, do you want to be rehab-based, pain-based, wellness-based, subluxation-based, muscle-release techniques-based, or use more physical therapy modalities? The choice is yours and only until you ask yourself what you really want will you find fulfillment with what you currently have.

The quality of your life will purely come down to the quality of the questions you ask yourself, of your profession and what you truly want. My suggestion is to study job boards in different locations you want to work, ask questions of chiropractors currently in practice, get a mentor or clinician to review any job choices or contracts you get presented before practising, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you learn a lot from the risks you take too.

Stephanie: Similar to what I have mentioned earlier (Part 1), I think it is very important to have a chiropractor mentor you.  Coming out of school, most of your time will be focused on becoming a skilled and educated chiropractor.

“Entering the field, you have to also become a business person and refine your interpersonal skills.” —Stephanie Anisko, DC

Entering the field, you have to also become a business person and refine your interpersonal skills as you will be interacting with many different types of people.  Having a mentor will allow you to have a resource to turn to.

My mentor chiropractor, Dr. Ken Kinakin, was my first chiropractor and I eventually worked with him in his clinic after graduating.  If you have the opportunity, see if you can get a job working in a chiropractic clinic as a Clinical Assistant to see how to run an office efficiently and also to learn different treatment techniques.

Joy: Be open to everything. Everything that seems black and white in school may be grey in the real world. Transitioning to work may not be exactly what you envisioned it to be but stay open to different situations. Figure out what kind of practice you want to have. Shadow and observe as many different people as you can. What you thought you wanted may not be true and vice versa.

The chiropractors’ advice in an eggshell:

  • Determine which area of chiropractic medicine interests you most
  • Find out which employers hire in what locations for the type of experience you want to get
  • Network with other chiropractors and learn from them
  • Work as a Clinical Assistant to gain knowledge and experience about different environments and treatment techniques
  • Keep an open mind – the reality of being a chiropractor may be different than you imagined!

More articles in this series:

Healthcare Week on TalentEgg, presented by Northern Health and featuring Rexall and Alberta Health Services

Photo credit: Alisha Vargas

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About the author

Tuen Mun Ong is a writer with TalentEgg. She received her H.B.Sc. in human biology from the University of Toronto and has a strong interest in health care, community, and culture. She’s not on Twitter, but you can easily find her on LinkedIn or in the real world. If you have a story you'd like to share, feel free to send her a message on LinkedIn.