Being both a nurse and chiropractor

  1. 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, orthopedics, 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 I'm not anti medical or medicine, I don't cute cancer diabetes or attempt to. There is a place for both 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!
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    About kansasdc

    Joined: Feb '14; Posts: 17; Likes: 6


  3. by   HolisticASN
    I am currently in a nursing program and I'm a Doctor of Chiropractic. The Fundamentals of nursing are so similar to chiropractic. One great thing about nursing school is the fact that you jump right into things and you don't have to take 42 semester hours at a time. However, the procedures are so incredibly different that you don't really see much overlap aside from physical examination.

    The classes require very little study because you know most of the material, but the differences in treatment require a lot of practice time for technique (such as placing an NG tube). The hospital setting is so different it's almost overwhelming at first.

    If you are a male, be patient because there is a lot of gossip and passive aggressiveness that goes on ALL OVER. That being said, you get to see all sorts of acute care patients that you would never see in a chiropractic practice. I believe that some of the diagnostics used in hospitals could be very effective in a family chiropractic practice - and vice versa.
  4. by   mmc51264
    I love the idea, could you work as an APN in physiatry? I went to a physiatrist and all they wanted to do was stick needles in my back. I had a DO that did manipulations and he was great, so great they ran him off-overbooked him. I think there would be a great demand for an NP/Chiro. The tricky part would be overlapping scope. I do yoga, go to a chiro, deep tissue massage, and traditional ortho docs. Balance is the key. I have seen, especially in spine issues that once they start cutting or injecting, it's about over.
  5. by   HolisticASN
    You're very correct! The American Medical Association actually suggests alternative care therapies, including Chiropractic, before surgery. However, you do see some misconceptions floating around still.

    I had the benefit of talking with a very open minded neurologist and he stated that he used to despise the idea of referring to a chiropractor. However, In the recent years with the move toward evidence based practice - the chiropractor serves a very vital role.

    I suppose with an NP, you can sort of focus in any field you see fit for your interest. Personally, I already have extensive orthopedic knowledge and would be quite upset relearning everything in my field just for prescription privilege.

    Personally, I love the elderly and wish to work solely in geriatrics. My elder patients, on average, have about 10 different medications and how is someone suppose to care for that if they have no control over pharmaceuticalls? Chiropractors, by law, cannot suggest that a patient discontinue a medication, BUT an NP can suggest a less dangerous alternative and write out the prescription - that's the main reason I'm doing what I am. It's all about the patient.
  6. by   Al.ginger
    I had an instructor in nursing school who was DC and studying for her NP. As an RN she worked in OR, ortho and spine floor. She said the philosophy of care is really complimentary for nursing and chiropractic. My husband is chiro and I'm newly started ortho nurse. I find myself quite comfortable where I am. We have some amazing ortho NP's on the floor. From what I know about chiropractic and ortho nursing it can be really complimentary for practice.
    PS my husband is really critical about spinal surgeries though.
  7. by   nursekaren3535
    The latest I'm reading regarding this subject is that DC's can become RN's and then NP's completely online. Why is no one protecting the public from this? As an RN who worked as an RN in various MEDICAL healthcare settings at both the acute and subacute level, I find it apaulling that chiropractors can become RN’s completely online and then acquire a degree as an NP online. DC’s shouldn’t be able to magically become qualified to practice in the MEDICAL field by taking online classes.

    Nurses earn their first nursing degree in person in actual buildings where we are given hands on training. Nursing skills cannot be acquired online nor can you replace the invaluable experience that RN’s receive working in the REAL WORLD prior to going to nurse practitioner school. As an RN working towards my NP degree, I find this Very scary. If enough DC’s become NP’s, this will completely ruin the reputation of the Nurse Practitioners.

    If you are a DC who wants to be in MEDICAL/SCIENCE-BASED healthcare, why in the world didn’t you go to physical therapy school, medical school, nursing school, or NP school to begin with? Why did you pay over $100,000 to go to a cult? Your “clinical experience” in DC school consists of learning to treat “subluxations.” Anyone with a modicum of sense will not take you seriously as an NP. The scary part is that you will take advantage of the ignorance of many of the public, just as you always have, but now you will have NP after your name with the authority to prescribe medications and take people off of medications with absolutely no understanding of differential diagnosis.

    Please stick to what you know (pseudoscience), or get your first nursing degree in a brick and mortar building where you are taught hands on nursing skills. If you want to be a Nurse Practitioner, you must abandon your pseudoscience completely and start from scratch. Don’t be lazy and jeopardize public safety in the process.
  8. by   MIZ-DC
    Nursekaren3535, I do not see anywhere in the OP's post about him wanting to take all online classes and wanting to take the "lazy" way. The OP specifically inquired about how the clinical experience was. IMO, this means the the OP truly wants to learn the skill it takes to be a nurse.

    In regards to chiropractic, you may have had a bad experience in the past but please do not put all chiros into one group of subluxation chasers. The OP never mentioned a word about subluxation and clearly stated that they only treat musculoskeletal pain. This is evidence based practice.

    Usually I do not respond to these posts, but I am a chiro who is going to back to an accelerated program to obtain my nursing degree. Many chiros do this because they do not want to take a short cut and want to do things the right way. I do not feel that I will be jeopardizing public safety once I obtain an NP. If you do not like the online NP programs maybe your frustration should be taken out on those programs instead of the people actually going through them.

    OP, feel free to message me on here if you are still considering going back to school and I would happily tell you about clinicals. I would be happy to discuss more with you.
  9. by   Jessinurse
    FYI, Chiropractors go through a lot of anatomy and physiology classes, more than RN and NP. My chiropractor was surprised at how little anatomy I had in NP school and would still be legally allowed to diagnose spinal/muscular problems.
  10. by   chiromed0
    Old thread but just to clarify chiropractors cannot become RN's or other by a 100% online program. None exist. How do I know? I'm the last one allowed to enter such a distance learning program that was 100% distance learning by virtue of being a DC first. The program no longer exists. And to address the earlier post about "Anyone with a modicum of sense will not take you seriously as an NP. The scary part is that you will take advantage of the ignorance of many of the public, just as you always have, but now you will have NP after your name with the authority to prescribe medications and take people off of medications with absolutely no understanding of differential diagnosis." To that I will just say that now, as an NP, I am taken as seriously as any other NP. Clearly in that diatribe there are some personal biases expressed albeit probably not unfounded. However, not every DC that changed career paths needs to be ashamed of being a DC. That would just be stupid.

    I do take issue with any RN going into advanced practice nursing without the requisite experience but not in general with DC's concurrently practicing as an NP also if they garnered experience as an RN. Although that gray area probably needs to be addressed more specifically by the state boards. A DC's education is solid and does stray into the controversial w/regard to the subluxation theory etc., however, all professions clearly support the benefit of joint manipulation in general. Yes, there are some quacks in chiro but behold...they exist in medicine too! I welcome any DC who wants to use their education, experience, and talents to convert to NP/PA practice so long as you respect being an RN first and get some first floor experience b/c if you don't ... you really can't say you are an advanced practice RN honestly, legally yes...honestly...uh no.