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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
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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