It may come as a shock to our young or new people to the profession that chiropractic is only established in a handful of countries. (USA, Canada and Australia and ADVANCING IN a few in countries in Northern Europe and South Africa.) Although there are one or more DCs in some 100 countries, only 37 have laws that recognize chiropractic as a legitimate profession. Yet 76 countries have only one DC for every 100,000 to 2,000,000 people. There are 150 countries without DCs of which 120 are too poor, too small or too dangerous to try and establish practices.
Needless to say, making the right choice in selecting a country to open a practice is a serious matter. How do you select a country that is ideal for you?
Putting things in simple terms, the greater the familiarity and the genuine affinity between the doctor and the patient, the better the choice. Blood, family and national heritage hold the strongest bonds between people. Familiarity includes language, physical similarities and common interests. Ask yourself this question: “What group of people do I hold dear to my heart?” Unless you have actually traveled to a country or have personal experience with that culture it is difficult to know if you can genuinely care about them.
Once you can honestly say to yourself that there is a love for the people of a particular culture or country you will have begun to narrow down your choices. The next question to ask yourself is: “Can I make a decent living in that country?” The demographics (population and economy) will indicate your potential for success if you are willing to work hard.
How do you determine these facts? Go to a local bookstore and buy a travel book on the country(ies) of interest. There is a wealth of information there to familiarize you with many facts. Another source is the CIA World Book online.
Next, take the opportunity to travel or even volunteer in a mission to your country of interest. This will either make or break your decision because it replaces fantasy with facts. It really is your “gut feeling” that will ultimately decide if all the facts are right for you.
Language is also an important factor min your decision-making. Here the question to ask yourself is: “Can I speak or learn to speak the local language?” In some countries like Norway, the Netherlands and Germany you are required to speak and write fluently in their language before being permitted to establish a permanent practice. Many countries are accustomed to having professionals who only speak English, but a doctor must rely on translators. Obviously, it is important for doctors to effectively communicate with their patients. This has always been especially true for the chiropractic practitioner. You will have to be the judge on how critical this issue plays in making your selection.
Let us look at these questions again:
- What group of people do you hold dear to your heart?
- Can you make a decent living in that country?
- Can you speak or learn to speak the local language?
Once you can fully answer these questions to your satisfaction it will become easier to narrow down your choices. After all, you can only be in one place at a time. Why not make a solid decision and plant some deep roots; your future patients deserve that. So does the profession and so do you!