resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
April, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 04
Does Your Staff Support You or Weigh You Down?
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
One of the most challenging aspects of being a business owner is managing staff. Interviewing, hiring, training, overseeing, motivating and sometimes firing staff, can take countless hours.Some wonder if it is even worth it. It can be a very lucrative part of any practice, if handled correctly. But it can also be a nightmare, especially if the staff member doesn't work out well and puts a burden on the practice. Getting the right staff member in the first place is the key to success. In the scheme of things, most of the energy should be spent on the hiring. It isn't about a warm body to fill the therapist's spot; it's about the right person. The concept of team is critical when you are looking to bring on a therapist. There are many things to consider.
As I mentioned, hiring is step one and where a good part of your energy should be spent. I used to conduct a verbal interview with a candidate first. This was level one and in the interest of not wasting anyone's time, a verbal interview weeded out most folks. If I was impressed by the verbal interview, a second hands-on interview was conducted. The interviewee had to perform a 40-minute massage on me and teach one exercise. If there was a tie between candidates, a third massage interview was performed on one of my staff members so they could have a voice in the decision process. I was never trying to replace or duplicate my hands. Moreover, I was looking for someone to "complete" the existing practice; a team member who would fit with the model I had established. To me, the team concept was far more important than finding someone who could perform an identical massage to me.
Another criterion important in my hiring process was the candidate's business etiquette and professionalism. Dress code, hygiene, timeliness and speaking voice all played a roll. Manicured hands tell a lot about how someone cares for their "tools." It was also an indication of how they would care for my equipment. My office was run in a very specific way and it was very successful. I needed a therapist who was willing and able to follow my format, accurately and with pleasure. Notice again, the focus was not on technique. I trusted the technique was there and short of giving a lousy massage, I opened myself to the possibility that there are enough clients for everyone's style.
Once hired, training started right away. It has been my experience that therapists want a fair wage and as much autonomy as possible. Even though they were working under the umbrella of my practice, I allowed them to feel like they were running their own business as independent contractors. The training that occurred was largely based on how I ran the office, what the expectations were, how to chart client notes, and shared marketing efforts. Again, there was not much emphasis on technique because I wanted the therapist to feel as if they could do their own thing.
After a certain amount of time and once I had gained confidence in the therapist, I let them fly solo. I stopped reviewing their notes and allowed them to schedule their own appointments. This gave them freedom and flexibility, creating a further sense of autonomy. With this vote of confidence came years of loyalty, as my therapists often commented that working for me was the best of both worlds.
Weekly staff meetings kept motivation high. However, there were times when one therapist could bring the entire staff down with negativity. You know what it is like sometimes. The phone doesn't ring so you obsess about it. The more you obsess, the more the phone doesn't ring. It is a vicious cycle. Basically, what you focus upon expands. If the negativity is left to perpetuate, it can grow and spiral out of control. One person can have a large effect on an entire practice. Nip this in the bud. If necessary, single that therapist out and train them to stay positive. Remember, this is a team sport, and if that person cannot commit to a positive attitude, they may not be the right fit for the practice. In this case, do what you have to do. That might mean this therapist needs to find employment elsewhere. It may sound harsh but, remember, this is your business. Your income depends on it.
Most of my staff worked out well and stayed with me the entire time I had my group practice. Some even remained after I sold my business, because the new owner followed my business model. I am proud that I was able to provide an environment that warranted loyalty and dedication. It was my greatest business success.
That being said, I did have to terminate someone once. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but it was absolutely necessary to the success of my practice and the success of my therapists. If you find yourself in this case, talk to someone. Rehearse what you will say so you feel confident going in. Be kind but be firm. Remember, this is for the team.
A good staff can make your life much easier. If you put the time in to find the right people, you will feel supported and can be quite successful. If you find you have made a poor decision or the therapist is not the candidate you anticipated, cut your losses early. Don't linger with this decision, as it can affect the entire team and business model. Ultimately, you want a staff that can support you, lift you up and, when appropriate, fly solo. A staff that weighs you down is bad for everyone.
Click here for more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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