Gotta Make the Donuts VS. Time to Grind

Once you’ve been at this for a few years, it’s easy to fall into the rut of coming and going just trying to make it to the weekend. I was a teacher before going into chiropractic college, and the big burn in that game is the fact that although you may have more free time (like summer, for instance) you don’t make enough money to do anything with that time. We always had really sweet gardens every summer, but even gardening takes money. The potential bummer in our business is the fact that you may not make much more money than a teacher, and if you do, you may be struggling to find the spare time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

I wrote about a few potential strategies in the spare time department in the vacation post.

What I want to write about today is the fact–the FACT–that you must endeavor to be in the present moment with your patients. You cannot phone it in. There are several reasons for this, most of which should be obvious, but let’s talk about them anyway.

First off, if you want to hurt someone, stop paying attention. And by “hurt someone” I mean miss something just as much as I mean being overaggressive with manipulation or something like that. Several years ago, I had a patient who had severe neck pain and was deathly afraid of the crack. We were using some muscle energy/soft tissue work/light traction on her and were making slow but steady progress. One day she came in when I had a standing room only waiting room, and I was moving fast. She lay on the table and without reviewing her file and unzipped her neck like I was at an MPI seminar and she was a student. Her initial reaction was, “you weren’t supposed to do that!” which was fortunately followed, almost immediately, with, “but it does feel a lot better.”

After I changed my pants, I apologized, and all was forgiven. But what if she would have had a negative reaction? I might literally be making donuts right now.

I’ve also missed a few cervical herniation situations when the radicular pattern translated down into the scapular region, thinking the patient was having rib joint pain. Now everyone who presents with what I think is rib joint pain still gets to do a few chin retractions even if they sneezed and immediately felt pain in some of the more likely areas for rib joint pain to present. Just to be sure. And guess what? Not one person has ever complained about getting an overly thorough exam. Most people are used to other doctors standing arm’s length away from them and writing prescriptions to “see if this helps.”

The main reason you need to be present in the moment, though, is that people will know if you’re not. Ask anyone who has gone through a major life crisis while they were in practice. You may think you have a good poker face, but the minute you check out during a patient encounter you’re risking all of the above in addition to them knowing. And once they know, the trust is gone. Once they know, they won’t refer anymore. They’ll unsubscribe from your email list. They’ll go to the freakin’ Joint.

So. Be here now. Enjoy the banter from one patient to the next. Be serious when you need to be serious and have a sense of humor with the jokesters who come in. We get to be up and moving around all day. We get to help people. People who most likely spend their entire day making their particular donuts, usually in front of a computer while mindlessly generating reports or even worse, going to meetings. We’re here to give them relief, return them to function, and help them keep making those donuts.



How I Responded to My First Bad Review

Not too long ago, I was finishing my bass lesson for the night (I take online lessons from this guy) and made the mistake of checking my email before going to bed. And lo and behold–I had a one-star review. My first:

I have probably been overly paranoid about my online reputation, but it’s paid off over the last several years. As of this writing, I have a solid five-star status with Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Also, my book has all five-star reviews on Amazon.

And then this dude had to go and ruin my streak. Kind of.

The first thing you should know is the review wasn’t legit. The dude who wrote it has never been to my office. He’s just a fan of one of my competitor’s YouTube channel. You may know that competitor as the “Ring Dinger.”

For the uninitiated, I present to you the following video:

And here’s his review of the RD:

As you can tell, the dude’s not only never been to my office; he’s never even been to the city where my office is located. I seriously doubt that if often happens that a reviewer makes such an excellent case against himself.

So, I contacted the fine folks at Google and pointed out the issues. The guy I chatted with was clearly competent and smelled what I was stepping in right away. Within 24 hours the review was gone, and all was right in the world–they even called me to let me know they had deleted the review.

But what would I have done had this been a legitimate bad review? I would have responded by showing concern and publicly trying to fix the patient’s problem without saying anything that might indicate what their visit to the clinic was about.

And then I would move on.

If you’re in business long enough someone is going to have an issue. When you think of your own review viewing habits and how reviews influence your decision making you’ll probably find that you don’t demand perfect five-star perfection from those with whom you do business.

But I have to admit it’s nice to see that perfect score again.

You Need a Vacation

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Our Profession: Some Perspective

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