Get to know Palmer alumni – Joe O’Tool, D.C.

Get to know … Joe O’Tool, D.C.

Dr. O’Tool found early success in his private practice by improving his patient’s health and providing leadership within his community. He says Palmer College set him up for success through the business and leadership programs available on campus.

Check out this videon where Dr. O’Tool talks about his private practice and community leadership.

Joe O’Tool, D.C.

Share this story with potential chiropractors you know!

Would you like to share your Palmer story? Contact Minda at minda.powers@palmer.edu.

Dr. Charles Fulk – Reflections of a PCC Alumnus

Dr. Charles Fulk

Dr. Charles Fulk

As Palmer College of Chiropractic alumnus starting my 34th year in practice, I have often reflected on the years I spent at PCC and how they have prepared me for practice life. I graduated from PCC in December of 1982 and began practicing in January of 1983 in Kansas.

The education I received was very thorough, but at the time I wondered why it seemed so redundant. The classes seemed to march us through one body system to another, but I soon realized that the closure of each class laid the framework and understanding that I needed to more fully understand the next.

When I entered practice life in 1983, I realized that the education I had received during my time at PCC was the very foundation I needed to develop and grow my practice.

From anatomy and physiology, to manipulation technique classes, to understanding X-rays, they all seemed to knit together the knowledge, understanding and confidence I needed to test, correctly diagnose and then effectively care for people.

I spent my days exploring the mysteries of the human body and developed the competence and confidence that I needed to restore my patients’ health.

I went into the chiropractic field mission-focused and with a passion for helping people. I was thankful for the opportunity to care for others and felt honored to have the ability to diagnose and treat them.

The trust they put in me was inspiring. The close nature of the doctor-patient relationship that is formed in a matter of minutes during a consultation made me proud of the education I had received and the person I had become.

However, early in my career, I found it challenging to get my practice going, and it was even more difficult to learn how to manage my staff and patients it as it grew.

I soon discovered the challenges of the economic side of being a chiropractor. Financial tasks distanced me from the reasons I had chosen chiropractic in the first place. That’s the duality of being a chiropractor. There’s the fulfilling personal side and the difficult impersonal side.

I soon discovered that chiropractic is not a profession for the “thin skinned” individual or the “faint of heart.” I began to build around myself with experts in the fields of business management, marketing and accounting, and this soon freed me up to focus on what I love most, helping people.

Although the field of chiropractic may be challenging, it is an extremely rewarding profession that can bring an incredible sense of satisfaction and purpose. The education I received at PCC gave me the foundation of knowledge to build my practice and withstand the inevitable storms of practice life.

Chiropractic is an incredible product for the consumer and, when delivered with commitment and passion, will yield tremendous benefits. Thank you, PCC.

 

Charles Fulk, D.C. practices at Fulk Chiropractic in Olathe, KS.  Open seven days a week, Fulk’s 11 chiropractors offer chiropractic treatment to Kansas City-area patients when they need it most. 

Advice for chiropractic students: Be open-minded

Palmer alumni offer their advice to chiropractic students on how to achieve success. Do you have advice you’d like to share with current Palmer students or new graduates? Emailminda.powers@palmer.edu.

“Be open-minded, respectful of other opinions, and understand it’s not how great a technique is but it’s about applying the right technique at the right time. Patients don’t care how they get fixed (most of the time). They want you to teach them about what is creating their issues and how you are going to take care of them. I use upper cervical as a primary but utilize all other forms of adjustments as needed for the right presentation of issues.

“So, in short, don’t use a hammer for a screw. Apply your knowledge and the techniques that you learn to properly take care of the issue. Don’t get caught up in the hype of negativity. If you focus on that, you will become that. If there is an opportunity to address something and properly fix it, then go for it. But words without actions produce zero results.

“Learn as much as you can. Even the random stuff they teach [in class] may become useful. I’ve [discovered] cases of severe issues due to the teachings from my professors at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport. We find and fix subluxations, but be ready to answer all questions regarding health because you never know what you will encounter.”

– Brandon Blank, D.C.

Advice for chiropractic students from chiropractors

Palmer alumni offer their advice to chiropractic students on how to achieve success. Do you have advice you’d like to share with current Palmer students or new graduates? Email minda.powers@palmer.edu.

“My advice is to find successful people you respect and would like to be like AND listen to what they have to say. Also, don’t ever take advice from anyone who is failing or struggling. Learn how to be awesome from awesome people.”

– Brad Meylor, D.C.

Calling the Shots on Your Contract – by Dr. Jen Faber

Dr. Jen Faber

Dr. Jen Faber

When new chiropractors kick-start their career by working in a practice, they’re eager, hungry and ready to learn from a mentor who knows the ropes. On the surface, this path can offer training on the job and get you prepared to build your own practice someday. But just because you want someone to “take you under their wing,” doesn’t mean you should feel like you have no say in what you get in return.

Yet it oftentimes does.

Why? Because it’s easy to go into defeating thoughts that take away any chance you have to negotiate. Ask yourself, if you’re an associate or want to be, have any of these thoughts run through your mind:

“What say do I have?”

“I have no idea how to negotiate.”

“I have no experience, so I’ll just take the best offer I can find.”

“All I want is a job that’ll pay the bills, and I’ll figure out the rest later.”

This is a confidence gut check. It’s an opportunity to reframe your mind on how you go into a job offer and give yourself the personal power on negotiating and knowing how to do it.

Let’s set the stage here. Our profession gets a bad rap on “eating its young” when it comes to associateships. Sadly, that’s because chiropractors feel overworked, underpaid and taken advantage of by the practice. But that end result doesn’t come fully from the boss. The employee (a.k.a. the associate) also needs to set standards before day one so you go into that job with a contract that works for you …

And not one that was just created for anyone who will sign it.

Having come out of a job that nearly drove me to leave the profession all together, I know that feeling all too well. In hindsight, had I known even one tip on how to negotiate, I would have put myself in a level playing field and perhaps even the wisdom to walk away from that job before getting hired and find something better.

So I want to share with you the tools that I would’ve told my younger self back when I graduated. Negotiating is all about the approach and implementing key strategies to create a contract that actually works in your favor.

Step 1: Go Shopping

Typically the first question that runs through your mind is, “How do I even know what to ask for?” And if you’re right out of school, it’s hard to know the baseline for what’s a standard contract. So the first step here is to do your research. Go on chiropractic job boards and read the offers. Identify what the opportunities are in your location or comparable areas if you don’t know where you want to practice yet. Look at the incentives and compensation to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. Create a list of what you’ve see in offers that appeals to you so you can bring that knowledge to the table on interview day.

Step 2: Know Your Conditions

After you’ve done your market research, you’ll want to create your own job offer. Design an ideal contract that matches what you want. This is a concept known as ‘conditions of satisfaction,’ which is all about developing standards for yourself.

And this is vital because chiropractors typically go into a job offer with no preparation or strong identity on what that ideal offer looks like. You don’t want to go into this process blind, because it will make you feel like you have no say in the game, and you will come across that way when a contract is presented to you.

So think about the standards you want to create for your job contract. This relates to three key areas: compensation, benefits and vacation. For compensation, know what the standard of living is in your area and what you need to make to match it. Also think about the structure. Do you want bonuses or incentives as you grow your patient base? What benefits do you want to receive in addition to your income? How much time off do you want to have? More importantly, how much time off do you want to give your work-life balance?

What exactly will cause you to be satisfied with your job offer? Be honest and specific. And then know those conditions before the interview, during the interview and especially when you negotiate the offer.

Step 3: Don’t Accept the First Offer

Any job offer that you get will be in the practice owner’s favor. It’s not necessarily because an employer is trying to take advantage of you. It’s because that employer is looking to bring a doctor into their practice and ultimately wants a new hire to be a good fit for them. This is no different than listing a house for a higher price, because the status quo is that the price will get negotiated down. That’s just smart business sense.

So don’t accept the first offer thinking that the employer won’t budge or that you have no voice in the matter. This is how any business contract works. There’s an offer. Then a counter offer. Then an agreement.

Use the conditions you’ve set to let the employer know what you want and what will make the job and offer a good fit for you. State what you need in order to move forward so both of you can have a dialogue and come to a mutual agreement. This sets such a stronger dynamic then just signing on the dotted line and hoping for the best.

The big takeaway here is this:

Don’t be willing to just take any offer just to get the job now, because you could spend years stuck in a contract that ultimately stunts your future growth. And you are worth way more than to just settle for some job when you’ve spent time, money, effort, and passion to become a chiropractor. So know that not only can you negotiate, but you should. And when you do, you’ll be able to see red flags, figure out the best fit and attract a job that matches what you want.

Jen Faber, D.C.
’06 Davenport campus graduate

After breaking away from burnout and frustration early in her career, Jen Faber, D.C., is now on a mission to coach freedom-seeking chiropractors on how build a practice they love through her individual coaching and online training programs. She is the creator of the House Call Practice Program and the Unleashed Coaching Program to empower chiropractors with the guidance, tools, and strategies to build a successful practice. Visit her online at www.drjenfaber.com.

Advice for new chiropractors

Each week, we’re asking our alumni to share their advice and experiences on the Alumni Voices blog. This week, P. Burdoc Nisson, D.C., shares his personal list of Do’s and Don’ts for new chiropractors.

If you would like to share your own practicing tips and more, follow @palmercollege on Twitter and like our Facebook page to see the weekly question on Wednesdays.

Dr. Burdoc Nisson

Dr. Burdoc Nisson and grandbaby

Do’s & Don’ts:

1. Make sure that you are in the best health that you can be (get adjusted, eat well, etc.).

2. Make sure that you have everything to help the patient that they are read for.

3. Don’t overwhelm the patient.

4. Do what the patient’s body wants done first, check if that worked and then find the next thing that patient’s body wants now.

5. If the patient’s body is not telling you what is next but is not “done,” try having them move, walk or rest.

6. If the patient comes back the next time feeling exactly the same, find out what you missed.

7. Get to know which local health practitioners do things differently than you do so that you can refer to each other.

8. Refer patients when they are not improving fast enough.

9. Use all of your senses to work with the whole patient (physical, emotional, causal, mental, spiritual).

10. Keep learning.

– Dr. P. Burdoc Nisson

Chiropractors: How important is it to have a mentor?

We got on Facebook and Twitter and asked how important you think it is to have a mentor as a chiropractic student and as a chiropractor. Here are some of the answers:

“Only if you want to be successful.”    – Bobby Moore, D.C.

“VERY, VERY IMPORTANT!!!”    – Brad Meylor, D.C.

“It is of the utmost importance! I was surprised at how few students had mentors while I attended Palmer.”    – Brandon Perrine, D.C.

“I have had some great mentors in my life. Although I most often just stumbled into them, keep your eyes open. They can help you become so much better than you expected to be. I was blessed with two on-campus mentors while a student at Palmer. A mentor can make the difference between you becoming an okay chiropractor and a great chiropractor.”    – Doc Nisson

“Everyone can use a good mentor. I am thankful for all the mentors I’ve had in starting my chiropractic practice.”    – @ChiroLasVegas, Twitter

What do you think? Tweet us @palmercollege, post on Facebook or leave a comment below.

Why I became a chiropractor

Dr. David Palmer

I was born in 1935 and grew up with a father who was a 1923 Palmer School of Chiropractic graduate. All my young life I received chiropractic care from Dad. My first experience with a medical doctor was when I ran a nail into my knee. Then at the ripe old age of 14, I learned what an aspirin was. I developed a bad toothache, and Dad went and bought a bottle of aspirin and made an ice pack to kill the pain until we could get to my uncle who was a dentist.

Over the years I observed the multitude of patients coming to the home office to see my father. After college, I took a teaching job in Cincinnati where my wife Marilyn and I settled. Then I went to the University of Cincinnati for a graduate degree. While working part time for the University, I was offered a full-time position and became the director of Financial Aid. I worked for the University from 1960 to 1965 and decided to visit the Palmer College of Chiropractic with my wife in the fall of l964. In the winter of l965, I decided to quit the rat race of college administration and the working 60 to 70 hours a week and become a Chiropractor. I enrolled in the spring of 1965.

However, as good luck could happen, Dr. Dave Palmer decided to open the Palmer Junior College at that time and asked me to work in the junior college. It was a late-afternoon and evening program and would work well with my studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

I will always thank Palmer and Dr. Dave for my education and for the many years since 1968 when I graduated. I try to be generous and in the l980s was instrumental in forming the Indiana Palmer College of Chiropractic International Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Program, which today offers two $1,200 scholarships a year. Then, after seeing that off the ground and doing well, I have sponsored a scholarship for a student that is an Eagle Scout. To this day I continue contributing to this Eagle Scout fund.

God bless Chiropractic and God bless Palmer,

Ronald W. Woods, D.C., PCC ’68, son of Dr. Ralph Cook Woods, D.C., PSC ’23

Chiropractic changed my life

Chiropractic changed and saved my life. I remember I was in 6th grade. I was rough-housing with my sister and fell off the couch. I hit my head on the coffee table and subluxated my upper thoracic vertebra. It had been a couple of months when I started developing severe asthma, and I had never had asthma before my entire life.

Dr. Greg Johnson adjusting one of his patients.

I went to every allergy and asthma specialist in the tri-state area. All they did was give me pills and allergy shots for the next two years. My asthma got so bad that I was taken to the hospital and put in an oxygen tent, shot me up with epinephrine, and I had to quit playing all my sports activities.

Finally a friend of my mom’s referred her to a chiropractor who was a Palmer graduate that had helped another child with their asthma. She took me to him, and within three months of being treated by this Palmer graduate, I had no more asthma.

I knew in the 8th grade I was going to be a chiropractor. Traditional medicine failed me miserably. I knew I wanted to go to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa because I wanted to go to the best school for chiropractic in the world. Palmer has always been The Fountainhead of chiropractic, and I graduated from Palmer in Davenport in 1981.

I have treated tens of thousands of patients in my 32 years of practice. I am as passionate about chiropractic now as I was then. I see chiropractic changing people’s lives every day and have had several patients go to Palmer themselves after being treated by me. I believe strongly that Palmer College chiropractic teaches their students how to adjust the spine better than any chiropractic college in the United States. I am now sharing what chiropractic benefits are for people on YouTube.

I encourage every Palmer graduate to continue to educate the world about the benefits of chiropractic care. Continuing education is also very important for your continued development and skills. Becoming a chiropractor and going to Palmer College was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. I believe every chiropractor should visit Palmer  in Davenport  just to see where chiropractic actually came from.

If I could pass any tips along to Palmer students, it would be to study hard and really learn about the spine and the nervous system. Chiropractic is about so much more than just “cracking” necks and backs. Chiropractic philosophy is exactly the way B.J. Palmer taught it in his day. The vertebral subluxation complex does exist, and correction of this disorder will save many lives. Chiropractic is the most rewarding profession anyone could ever be in. Don’t forget to keep getting adjusted yourselves throughout your professional career. Keep changing lives through chiropractic care.

Sincerely,

Your Houston Chiropractor

Dr. Gregory E. Johnson D.C.

Davenport Campus, Class of 1981

 

What I’ve learned after 30 years in practice

I graduated from Palmer in Davenport in December 1982. After graduation, I associated in an established practice for 2 years and then struck off on my own. I began my practice with a typewriter and a copier.

Most of our bills were done by hand on paper. Mountains and mountains of paper. Faxes had not been invented yet. There was no email. The social media was called a telephone. Most people wouldn’t have modern “off-the-shelf” desktop computers for another 5 to 10 years or so. And when computers began to emerge for the public, their operating system (on “modern” TRS-80 computers from Radio Shack) used CMOS. Instead of colors and icons, you were greeted with a black screen and this: C:\.

Photo from hoolawhoop.blogspot.com

There were no clicking on icons or “copy and paste” shortcuts. There wasn’t even Solitaire or Mine-Sweeper. There were some naissant black and white T.V. video games (Pong and Tanks). Pac-man would soon arrive and add color! Video arcades were on the horizon. Bill Gates would start marketing Windows in late 1985, and I bought my first “real” computer in 1987. It was a little more powerful than a calculator today, with memory measured in kilobytes, not gigabytes.

Prior to then you made duplicates of things with carbon paper and typed on a manual typewriter. Word processing would come later. In that era, “white-out” was as close as it came to word processing. Billing was time consuming. Paper work was a chore that consumed most of your clinic time. It was a very different business environment. New graduates can probably not imagine a world without DVD or Blu-ray, but this was actually even before VHS! Family memories were preserved on super-8 cameras and usually without sound. Cars had cassette players or an 8-track player.

Palmer was also a different place. Lectures were illustrated by the professor writing on a rolling sheet of acetate while the overhead projector shone it’s weak light up on the wall.

My biggest clinical observation therefore is that the modern practice is as different in day-to-day operations in 2013, as airplanes have made the world since the horse and buggy days. Information is almost instantaneous. Phone books are arcane today. Even snail-mail is on its way out. Sending out the clinic billing now goes through a clearinghouse where it’s checked, corrected, sorted and instantly delivered via the Internet with a turn-around from billing to resolution of days, not months. Patient record keeping still usually involves some paperwork, but that also is being phased out for EHR and verbiage-generating software. (Not always a good thing, BTW.) We design our own forms on our own word processors. We print them on our own color printer. We fax records. Our phones are cordless. We digitize X-rays. We back up on carbonite. We email newsletters to all our patients with the click of a button, and we track our billing through the Internet. And sweetest of all, the computer re-paginates my typing automatically, letting me add, delete and spell check my work with a simple mouse click.

As with all invention-based revolutions, from gunpowder, to the steam engine, to the Wright brothers, to the repeating rifle, to the silicon chip, the world is not the same place that it was even just 30 years ago. Everything has changed. We can do twice as much in half as much time! Our modern world is amazing, and we can only presume that our grandchildren will look back on our “modern” era as quaint and archaic, as new inventions come along.

“Grandpa, you actually watched movies on a plain big-screen television instead of in the 3-D hologram portal chamber?” But the one thing that hasn’t changed, and hopefully will never change, is the need for ethics, morality, honesty, integrity and altruism that chiropractors must generate with their patients. No amount of technology can compensate for sham treatments, unethical care or short-cuts when it comes to patient care.

Patients are also more sophisticated now. They expect to know the “how” and the “why,” not just the “what” of the care you’re giving them. Sadly, with modernization has also come some short-cuts in patient care among some chiropractors. Junk science is sadly still too alive and well within our profession. Treatment plans that plan out a year in advance on the first visit are not ethical. Ignoring X-ray guidelines to generate a revenue stream into your clinic when films are not needed is dishonest and immoral.

We have been slow as a profession to modernize our thinking. We still fear guidelines and fight to find our own true identity as a profession. While we want to embrace the modern world, this does not mean we want to embrace a less ethical world. We cannot claim to be equal partners at the health care table when we still cling to outdated and implausible case-management habits. Differential diagnosis and critical thought has been slow in making a foundation for the chiropractic profession, which still relies on health models from the 1800s. We struggle to modernize ourselves, though we long ago accepted the modern world. We struggle with defining ourselves as a profession. We struggle with money, which risks compromises that can poison the chiropractic well for future generations.

To new graduates, I would urge you to be cautious on accepting every scam wind that blows through the chiropractic profession. If you want to be successful, above all else, be grounded in ethics, science and evidence-based care. The best way to make the most money is to make yourself the best doctor you can be. The rest will follow when the core is abundantly constructed. Practice gurus, bogus techniques and eternal treatment plans are also inventions of this modern world. But though we embrace shortcuts in our time-requirements, we need to also be wise enough to reject any shortcuts in our ethics. Ethics have never changed. Loving your patients more than yourself has never changed. And hopefully, they never will.

– Garth Aamodt D.C.

PCC-12/82

www.aamodtchiro.com