It is widely acknowledged that a chiropractor’s early years in practice
can be a challenge, both personally and professionally. In particular,
those first five years out of school can be as daunting as they are
It is widely acknowledged that a chiropractor’s early years in practice can be a challenge, both personally and professionally. In particular, those first five years out of school can be as daunting as they are exciting. Whether the graduate tries to start up a
|Dr. Rosalie Ritacco currently practises in a multidisciplinary clinic in downtown Toronto.
new practice, or joins an already established clinic, there are many factors to consider, such as establishing a patient roster, honing practices, leveraging management strategies, staffing, technologies and equipment to utilize, and generally finding one’s niche within the profession and/or community. All of this unfolds while an awareness that bills and loans require payment squats tenaciously in the new DC’s consciousness.
To the new graduate, the plethora of available configurations for practice can, in itself, become overwhelming. Given its sheer expansiveness, the scope of choices can, rather than prove liberating, end up cluttering a fledgling practice, setting up barriers, rather than venues, to success, both clinical and personal. Although, of course, all professionals will grow into their fields and, over time, alter certain routines, it is never wise to embark on any major career move – like starting in practice – without some sort of vision/plan/direction. Arguably, chiropractors – even those fresh out of their training programs – who have their goals and vision well defined are the most effective, meeting with positive (and, therefore, gratifying) results, both as practitioners and as business owners/partners.
Canadian Chiropractor caught up with one new DC, Dr. Rosalie Ritacco. Despite having been in practice less than five years, Dr. Ritacco is seeing positive patient outcomes in her clinic, experiences job satisfaction and has achieved a respectable measure of business success.
We asked her some questions to try and isolate those elements of her practice model that may be contributing to her current level of accomplishment.
A Brief History
Ritacco graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto in 2005, and is presently stationed in a multi-disciplinary clinic located in downtown Toronto.
Over the course of her career, Ritacco has worked in various capacities in the health-care industry. Before graduating from CMCC, she studied as a clinical intern and researcher at Johns Hopkins Neurogenetics and Behaviour Center in Baltimore, Maryland – she remains a consultant to this group on gait and biomechanical issues – as well as the Sunnybrook Cancer Centre in Toronto. Furthermore, she has practised chiropractic medicine in various rehabilitation and multidisciplinary health facilities, working alongside medical and naturopathic practitioners, registered massage therapists, dieticians, kinesiologists and fellow DCs.
Current Practice and Patient Base
Though her patient base naturally varies, the majority of the patients Ritacco works with are athletes. Ritacco, herself, trained for many years as a professional dancer and now finds that dancers make up the majority of athletes in her practice – and that this is due, in no small part, to that fact that they refer each other to her office.
“I possess a solid appreciation for the needs of this unique cohort,” Ritacco points out. “It has been my experience that in addition to traditional chiropractic manipulation/mobilizations and modalities, specialized soft tissue and myofascial release techniques are a critical component of care in dancers.”
“As a unique cohort,” she continues, “these patients demonstrate such high self-motivation,to achieve optimal health, that it is a privilege to play a facilitating role in achieving their admirable objectives.”
“Complying with strict timelines for recovery of these and other high-level athletes makes my job quite challenging, yet enjoyable and satisfying, since these are individuals who are inspiring in their own right,” Ritacco notes. “Regardless of sport, or injury, they are generally ‘in tune’ with their bodies, and understand the importance of taking responsibility for their own health, whether they are recovering from an injury or preventing one.”
Canadian Chiropractor wanted to know more about Dr. Ritacco’s approach, regarding patients, and how she feels this contributes to the positive results she sees in her practice.
“With the skills and knowledge that I was fortunate enough to gain from [previous professional] experiences,” she says, “I developed a non-traditional style of practice. As opposed to limiting patient assessment and therapy to the musculoskeletal system, my philosophy is to take an all encompassing approach, addressing each patient’s mental, spiritual and physical well-being.”
Ritacco does not believe in rushing her sessions, but feels that her effort to take time with each patient results, in the long run, in better compliance, more effective therapy and, thus, a more positive outcome. Not unwilling to spend 45 minutes to one hour with each patient, Ritacco approaches each presentation with her eye on achieving optimal overall health along with resolution of distinct symptoms.
“I often explain that the therapeutic relationship established with each patient is analogous to a coach and team player, where the patient is the star player and the objective of the game is to reach optimal wellness and general health,” explains Ritacco.
Furthermore, where the assistance of other health-care professionals may be necessary to ensure the patient’s best outcome, Ritacco does not hesitate to adopt a team approach in order to meet the final wellness goal.
“This approach typically requires that patients undergo dietary, exercise and general lifestyle assessment at the time of initial consult,” notes Ritacco, “and, then, an appropriate ‘game plan’ must be established.”
A Recipe for Success
“I hope to develop a multidisciplinary centre where specialists from various fields of complementary and conventional medicine work together,” Ritacco says. “I think this will ensure that each of my patients will receive optimal focus, attention and care for every component affecting their well-being, including health promotion and prevention.”
Clearly, despite being a very new DC, Dr. Ritacco has established a fundamental vision, philosophy and approach – all of which she consistently adheres to. Her inclusion of ancillary strategies – such as technology, equipment, etc. – is carefully weighed against these factors, thereby ensuring a cohesive practice model that will make sense to, and offer benefit for, her patients. Furthermore, Ritacco has practice and career goals and a well-defined cohort of patients she wishes to pursue. These last two are open enough to allow for the developments that will inevitably take place, in her career, over the coming years.
Each of these elements is aligned to her own personal traits, experience and history, as well as commitments to both her patients and herself.
And how did Canadian Chiropractor come to speak with Dr. Ritacco, specifically?
One of her patients, a dancer named Stephen Gray, contacted us to ask how he could facilitate a tribute to his great DC, to whom he owes his healing as well as his well-being in the capacity of a professional athlete. Gray has happily told us that he has referred several dancers to her, himself, and that they, too, have met with a high degree of success in their treatment.
What greater tribute – and what better referral base – can a practitioner hope for than a satisfied, healed, productive and healthy patient? Dr. Ritacco can think of none!
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