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Being bigger than institutions: Practicing DCs need to become ambassadors of the profession


October 25, 2021
By Dr. Anthony J. Lombardi, DC

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Photo: © Monkey Business / Adobe Stock

What a tumultuous two years this has been. In between changes in world leadership, pandemics, travel restrictions, and business closures our profession has quietly been changing too.

Did you know? Of the 45 chiropractic institutions worldwide that only 14 have retained the word chiropractic in the school’s name? Of those 14 schools with chiropractic in their name only four are in the United States (Texas, Sherman, Palmer, Life West) and only CMCC sports the name of the profession in Canada. Most recently New York Chiropractic College shed chiropractic from its name and became Northeast College of Health Sciences. This trend worries me. I fear that a serious identity crisis in the profession is on the horizon. School are trading the chiropractic name for a more general, generic, better marketable moniker. This might be understandable if the schools were in financial peril, but most chiropractic institutions are on solid financial footing. Most recent annual financial reports show that NYCC has over $50 million US in assets – yet they still ditched chiropractic from their name.

Questions
What does this tell chiropractors in the profession? Does it suggest that schools are putting profits ahead of preservation of the profession? Clearly these name changes have been encouraged by the sharp decrease in enrollment and in order to maintain profits, the institutions feel that a more generic name will attract a more diverse array of post-graduate students to their school to enroll in allied health curriculums. 

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I wonder, how many medical schools or dental schools are no longer called medical or dental schools? Chiropractic has a young but rich history. Will it hurt our profession if the schools that teach future ambassadors of our profession no longer make chiropractic a visible priority in their own institutions? Does the mass re-branding of chiropractic schools across the world also re-brand the profession of practicing chiropractors?

The answers
At first this bothered me. Then I thought that I needed to take a step back and take whatever positive aspects from this academic trend. I pondered: Do chiropractic schools make the profession? Or, do practicing chiropractors set the tone for the future? There are tens upon tens of thousands of practicing chiropractors worldwide: What are we doing to demonstrate and foster pride in the profession?

The best we can do is to demonstrate clinical and civil greatness through our actions. Practicing chiropractors can make an impression on other chiropractors, chiropractic students, allied health professionals and patients, simply by being good role models and positive mentors in the profession.

Be a mentor
Mentoring is the key for developing and sustaining a satisfying career and enables us to grow, learn, transform and accomplish goals in education, in the clinic or business. Whether you are an educator, clinician or in the early stages of your training, mentoring helps build a dynamic community for success.

Mentors promote confidence
The importance of mentoring relationships becomes evident as we recognize the value of networking and maintaining relationships throughout our career. The value of a good mentor is immeasurable when it comes to learning the tricks of the trade as well as becoming connected to those in the know and who possess invaluable knowledge about business practice. Most importantly, a successful mentor demonstrates and upholds the values and ethics of the profession they represent. A mentor can help alleviate much of the frustration students and new graduates often feel in their first few months of working in clinic. By sharing their insight and knowledge on clinical and business skills, new DCs in the field can be spared a great deal of stress. A good mentor can support students, new graduates and practising DCs to help avoid unnecessary resignation due to feelings of incompetence and isolation.

Mentoring is mutually beneficial
Mentoring can provide opportunities that can be mutually beneficial for both mentor and mentee. Mentors can be a coach or ally answering questions as they arise for the mentee. They act as advocates to help mentees navigate the terrain of academia and move forward professionally.

By providing guidance, support and other insights, mentors can learn and enhance their own leadership skills. Mentees often bring a fresh perspective to a difficult problem, and serving as mentor can provide a renewed sense of purpose in meeting the challenges of chiropractic.

Be the change
Ultimately, the responsibility of mentorship rests with DCs. Let us not worry about what the academic institutions are doing. That is out of our control. If you do not agree with it then find an aspect of our profession that you can support. It is vitally important for us to help one another grow and develop into competent professionals and entrepreneurs. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be sharing helpful information with our peers. After all, there is an abundance of potential chiropractic patients in Canada.

Lets be positive, Doc!


Anthony LOMBARDI, DC, is a private consultant to athletes in the NFL, CFL and NHL, and founder of the Hamilton Back Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic. He teaches his fundamental EXSTORE Assessment System and practice building workshops to various health professionals. For more information, visit www.exstore.ca.


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