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Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
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 previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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