Published Feb 14, 2014
I am looking for advice on those of you who are licensed chiropractors and continued on to obtain a nursing license. I am looking to become an NP in the future and want to hear your stories and experiences. I want to see more cases and have a strong interest in surgery and acute care. I want a broader scope. I love musculoskeletal but find my self wanting more. I do a lot of PT and rehab now with extremities and thinking of becoming a NP. Has anyone been able to integrate the fields and have the best of both worlds? What kind of nurse are you? How was school in regards to clinicals? And before you ask or comment...no I'm not anti medical or medicine, I don't cure cancer diabetes or attempt to;it is not my scope. There is a place for both worlds and I want be in both worlds. If there's a musculoskeletal issue I feel right at home treating it but I want stronger diagnostic skills outside of this. If anyone has advice on this please share your experience and advice with me. Thanks!
You're a chiropractor?
ArtClassRN, ADN, RN
Why not a PA?
Yes I am a practicing chiropractor with a strong background in sports rehab. I have spent some time debating PA v NP. All I have is other people's experience and advice on this. I like with the RN route I will get hands on experience quickly and by the time I'm an NP feel comfortable and it won't be a hard transition from classroom to work. They have the option in some states to work independently (not what I myself am looking for, but it's an option.) I have a strong interest in surgery and from what I've researched PAs have the upper hand there. I am not concerned with who is above who and who has a better recognition. Ego is not what I'm trying to fuel. I love helping people and currently spend 20 minutes one on one with patients . I have a 3.64 GPA which is low for PA application. After 3 rigorous years of chiropractic school taking 27 hours a trimester I have to be honest PA school seems like a daunting task....but none the less one I can do. A majority of science classes and gross anatomy will be a walk in the park the second go around. Is there any other aspects of each field I'm not considering? I appreciate all the advice and questions.
Do PA's and supervising MDs allow people to shadow in clinic settings?
I think being a chiropractor and combing it with PT and or OT makes far more sense.
Being a chiropractor and NP just seems bizarre with a very little synergy between the two fields.
Especially with so much of nursing being evidence based practice, and so much of chiropractic being erm ... science fiction ?
Combining two different professions is always tough, and when one is holistic and one isnt makes it all the more tougher. Adding a dual degree in PT/OT youd get far more bang for your buck and would build on any muskoskeletal knowledge you have.
It would also offer you some serious career opportunities down the road to open your own practice.
I don't know if youre from the Palmer chiropractor tree or one of the more scientific base dones but id be legitimately concerned about an NP Chiropractor. There are so many regulations pretty much forcing you to offer certain patients either statins, beta blockers, vaccines and other medications (under certain conditions). So I feel like it would be a conflict of interest for many chiropractors to do these things on a daily basis.
I know you said youre not "anti medicine" but I think its worth pointing out that if you were opposed to things like having to offer all patients vaccines or something in a hospital that it could be a major problem for you
I am board certified in PT and like I said I currently practice now majority PT with soft tissue work. We practice strong evidence based rehab protocols. If it's not a MS case I don't treat it. Often times I refer out to MDs and Orthos and I co-manage. Becoming a PT would mean 4 years of practically the same education I already had minus a few class differences for the same scope of practice. It would be a lateral move. I'm a portal of entry provider now and the scope would be the same. Like I said, I'm not anti-medicine. If a patient needs Meds and vaccinated then that's what they need. I myself want to see the science and evidence of treatments. I do not adjust all of my patients and I don't have the belief an adjust will cure an aliment. I adjust if there is a range of motion deficiency and it is not responding with rehab an PT. I want to become and NP to see more cases outside of the MS system. I want a broader scope to see more cases. Like I said I have a strong interest in orthopedics and emergency care.
nurseprnRN, BSN, RN
One of the best diagnosticians and rehab physicians I ever knew was a DC. He was not one of the ones that gives the profession a bad name, of which there are, lamentably, many. I took patients to appointments c him as a case manager, if they wanted DC care, and was very gratified to hear him tell them that they had to take responsibility for diligent home exercise and nutrition, and he wasn't going to cure them with just manipulations. His patients actually got better because they weren't relying external forces for all their results, unlike so many people who see DCs every week for life. Bah.
I also had him call me into his office while my patient was getting dressed after his exam and say, "I am referring this woman right now to Dr _____ (a neurosurgeon) because I am sure that her back pain is not from the work injury, but from spinal metastasis. I don't know what the primary is, but this is my diagnosis based on my exam and her history of pain." And he was absolutely right. Still gives me shivers, when so many other DCs would have just kept manipulating her "subluxations" indefinitely.
I think if you want to be an NP you will find that your DC is informing your NP practice rather than the other way around. No knowledge is ever wasted. Go for it.
Sounds like I'd get along perfectly with this DC, we treat alike! Thanks for the post it makes me proud to have a fellow DC as good as he is in the field. I'm just trying to figure out if becoming dually licensed will allow me to treat patients the best way possible. Can the two be truly integrated? Is it worth me going back to school or should I align my self with great MDs, DO's, PA's and NPs...I frequently refer out now when a patient needs more than I can provide . I'm going to shadow and it all with some integrated practices to see how it all works together for the benefit of the patient. I tell my patients what the best course of care is how give them their options at that point it is their decision to decide what they are willing to do..
The route to become an NP would be a step back for you. I would encourage you, at the very least go on for your DPT. A Doctorates and Physical therapy would allow you maintain your patient base, and also enhance your assessment skills( I am sure you are pretty thorough already with assessments).
I disagree that DNP would be a step back. On the contrary, it will open many more possibilities, as you correctly note, beyond musculoskeletal issues. Go for it.
There are some nursing schools that will grant an associates in nursing and allow you to apply for state licensure with an almost totally distance-learning curriculum (for medically-trained people-Lpn, medic, rrt, maybe dc?) I hold a non-nursing bachelors and am an excelsior grad working as an rn, in school for the BSN. You going for rn to bsn to np would be a bit of a roundabout way to get there...aren't there some direct-entry NP programs for people with non nursing bachelors degrees?
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