Although there are many personal and academic qualities that make up a successful chiropractic school student, empathy, a desire to help, and a pleasant, reassuring demeanor are fundamental. Another key to success, both as a student and in your career as a chiropractor, is a natural interest in and aptitude for the subject matter. Because the science of chiropractic medicine incorporates alternative medicine and slightly unconventional approaches to healing, students with an interest in innovative solutions to common problems may also excel in this area of study. In addition, because many chiropractors are self-employed, this career may be especially suited to those with the self-discipline to work independently.
- The ability to communicate effectively with patients – and encourage them to do the same – is essential to establishing mutual trust and understanding. Chiropractic is a “hands on” medical approach, which requires that patients trust you to handle their bodies in ways that may be unfamiliar to them. Patients may be surprised by the “pop” of their joints during an adjustment, and may have questions or misgivings about the effects of chiropractic treatment. For this reason, you should have a compassionate, patient attitude, and be willing to listen and learn from each therapeutic situation. Friendliness and an ability to put others at ease is also an excellent personality trait for a future chiropractor. Many successful chiropractors develop longtime relationships with patients, and some treat entire families for many years. In this profession, therefore, it is important for you to be personable and compassionate toward the people you treat.
- The ability to digest and retain significant amounts of information will also be crucial to your success in chiropractic school. Your education will encompass 4,200 hours of study, both in the classroom and in patient-care settings, and you will need to absorb large chunks of information at once. Again, a fundamental interest in science and chiropractic medicine will be indispensable in helping you learn and remember, but you’ll also need to take notes and organize information. You’ll need to develop research skills for classroom and laboratory projects.
What Makes a Good Chiropractic School Student?
- Perhaps the most important lessons you will need to learn and absorb are those you will encounter in a clinical setting. These are the situations that will most closely mirror your daily working life as a chiropractor, and therefore you should observe them closely and remember them well. Learning from mistakes in an applied, supervised learning environment will most likely prevent you from making mistakes in your practice.
When considering going to chiropractic school, you should also remember that this profession is not a “desk job,” and consists of certain physical demands. Chiropractors typically spend most of their working day on their feet, and are often engaged in repetitive movement. You should be willing and able to handle the physical challenges of extending your body, twisting, or bending down as necessary. Being able to work precisely with your hands is also a benefit, but this is a skill you will be taught during your training. A good sense of balance and coordination are also assets for students in chiropractic school and in practicing chiropractors.
You should also have acute skills of observation, and be able to notice subtle changes while carrying out the physical tasks of your work. The work you will do often requires “multitasking” in terms of dividing your attention effectively and evenly.
Overall, a good chiropractic school student should be attuned to the needs and concerns of the patient while mindful of the medical and physical tasks of chiropractic adjustment. The ability to balance sensitivity, science, and the mental and physical rigors of chiropractic training will put you in an excellent position to excel at school and in the profession.