Focus on the Fundamentals

At the risk of oversimplifying this journey there are five fundamental categories that all of your classes and pursuits will fall into. These are:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Treatment
  4. Patient Education
  5. Job acquisition or networking

School is set up to walk you through the steps on this ladder, it is how you collect and connect the resources that school provides that will allow you make a big difference.

I like to work backwards from your day to day reality. So for a chiropractic student that means the interaction with a patient. That is the hub of your wheel. That interaction and how you manage your time during that interaction so that you can get the information that you need and help the patient in front of you. You must ensure that you know enough in each category to be able to do that.

First measure yourself in each of these categories. How proficient are you? 100%, 50%, less. Where is the most room for growth? This may depend on where you are in the program.

Next. What do you need to learn/do in order to get to the next phase of proficiency?

What specific skills? What specific knowledge do you need?

If you are not sure then go shadow a doctor and see what they do in every visit. Take notes of what they do, what they say. How would you do/say things differently. What do you need to learn to do it better than them? Why do you think they do it that way?

These five categories and your relative proficiency will make decisions much easier for you. If you are weak in diagnosis then you need to read books and go to seminars on that, until you get good at that. I found it best to reassess myself after every quarter to determine what I was needing. Assessment four times a year is a good amount.

The take home message is to do less and to do it well.

Most chiropractic students do the opposite. It’s human nature to love novelty and tricks. It takes effort to embrace one thing for an extended period of time. Use this framework to stay focused on the fundamentals.