I just finished two very different, yet similar locums over 6 weeks in the early fall. For those unfamiliar with the term, “Locum” is a coverage doctor who sees patients when their principal doctor is away.
This is a relatively new experience since having my own practice and being in the reverse role of hiring locums for approximately 25 years.
I am in an enviable position to be very picky in whom I cover, as I want well-established practices using technique styles with the primary focus in neurological or tonal models.
I’m very confident in my skill sets to determine when, where, and how to adjust as well as when not to. I’ve pretty much seen everything from my own practice over the years, so I am not surprised easily.
My goal as a locum is to allow patients to keep their regular schedule without interruption while continuing to increase their potential through the chiropractic visit, reinforce what they have learned through their primary doctor, and last (but not least) interface well with staff.
What have I experienced?
When stepping into each office, I instantly feel “home”. The education is similar to what I would see, say, and do. The process of seeing a patient, even into delivering an examination and taking films is similar. The patients also “feel” similar when addressing their needs and outcomes. It’s like stepping into my old practice. It’s a wonderful warm feeling of deja-vu.
I have also experienced a deeper love of the profession. The heart that goes into these offices by doctors inspiring their patients through education on healing and how it comes through us and by us when conditions are “just right”. Their patients get it, and thus experience a heightened awareness and take greater responsibility for their lives.
What I have noticed is that these practices keep it simple and address why these people are there. The patient understands the connection that as chiropractors we detect and remove interference and strain through adjusting the spine. The spine as the conduit into the neurological system and the nervous system reigns supreme in the body, as it runs everything. Everything from the interpretation from and to our environment, as well as coordination and connection within us to run the body.
How simple, yet somehow difficult, for so many colleagues to incorporate this neurological model in a world that wants a “quick fix” and mostly thinks linearly*. The doctors for whom I have provided locum services have taught this complex idea in a meaningful, masterful way. They stick to what they know well and do not try to “be all” for the client. They leverage themselves by referring to other specialists who are in aligned professions.
*What I mean by linearly is that 1+1=2, 2+1=3 and sometimes that is true. But the body is so much more complex as 1+1 can create a whole bunch of things. It is never simple. Thankfully there is an inner wisdom within. As BJ Palmer said “Innate [the intelligence within the body] knows more in 1 second that you’ll ever know.” When we get down to it, can anyone truly “know” the ultimate cause of a, b, or c? When people are taught to “think out of the box”, those who we connect with get it, bit by bit. You see the light bulb go on and rather than telling patients to eat like “x”, exercise like “y” and remove stress like “z”, the patient starts to self-evaluate, increase their self-awareness and take responsibility to direct their outer world to match and achieve goals for ultimate success.
By providing locum services, I am reminded how much I love adjusting and seeing change occur through the power of an integrated nervous system. In my circle of colleagues, we cannot envision not adjusting our patients. However, I mistakenly assume that all chiropractors focus on adjusting. I am reminded though seeing patients as a locum that while this is the experience with their current doctor [whom they love], it has not always been their experience when they have seen other colleagues.
The unique skills sets in determining when and then how to deliver an adjustment at the right place to reset the “tone” of the nervous system, and facilitate connection from within is the “art” of what we do. I am astounded this is not the focus of all chiropractors. Yes, there is a bit of a 6th sense required. In my opinion, a high quality adjustment is a form of art involving a bit of intuition. Intuition meaning the masterful fusion of heart and intellect.
I am also reminded of the powerful bond that is earned between doctors and patients based on trust and mutual respect. It is heart-warming to see how much patients appreciate and love their chiropractor. When I sold my practice, this was one of the hardest things for me…the decades of relationships I had with my patients. You [as their doctor] become an integral part of their life. Even when I bump into my old patients, they are so generous in how they speak of our past bond. It really is a privilege that we [as doctors] should frequently stop and acknowledge perhaps more than we currently do.
So I thank those who brought me into their practices this year. It has been an honour and such a treat. I want to thank you for doing a fine job for human-kind and I appreciate you putting your life’s work in my hands. In so many ways, you are helping others develop the Best Version of You.™