Guide To Graduating As An Osteopath
Graduating as an Osteopath will be one of the greatest feelings you’ll ever have. Pause, enjoy it and realise how many doors have just opened for you. Let’s find out which door is the best choice for you.
blog > business advice and help for student and new grad osteopaths
You've Just Graduated As An Osteopath!
Congratulations! You’ve done it! Don’t those graduation gowns feel amazing?!
You’ve survived four to five years of stress-filled exams, hard late study nights, and 9 am lectures. But now what?
This Osteohustle Guide to Graduation will give you a few pointers on how to set your feet firmly in the Osteopathic community, allowing you can hit the ground running.
It can all seem a bit confusing, and you may not be entirely confident or sure with what you’re options are now you have your degree. I’ve been there.
This guide will go through the three main options you have to choose from as well as some tips and advice to help you make the best decision for your circumstances.
Once finished, you will have a better idea as to what to expect next. And as always, if you’re seeking any help or further free resources, please feel free to contact me – [email protected]
What's the right move for me now?
The only thing you have to remember when you’re picking where to go next is that there is no wrong choice. You will learn a crazy amount about yourself and well as being an Osteopath within your first year of qualifying. So, relax and don’t overthink it.
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1- Enjoy A Graduation Holiday
Before we dive into this, one of the greatest mistakes I made was going straight into a job without taking a well-earned break.
Remember that you’ve just completed a tough academic course which has taken you years to complete. Do yourself a favour and fly away somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
There will most likely be a blissful period where you don’t have early morning classes, and your associate job or clinic lease doesn’t start for a while.
Allow yourself to recharge for as long as your body and mind needs. You have just completed a grueling course, tiresome essays, and endless exams.
I understand the pressure and stress to get it right. It’s alright to take your time with the next few decisions you’re about it make. Not only that, but you also about to leap into the professional world, it can often feel like you’re never ready.
Burnout is not something that only happens to our patients. We need to be self-aware of our health and allow ourselves an emotional CT lift.
I burnt out one-year after graduation, which caused me to suffer physically, emotionally, and financially.
So, seriously consider taking a minimum of a two-week holiday. Once you get back, then it’s time to double-down and put all your years of study into ‘practice’.
2- Global Opportunities
Before you even think about how you’re going to work, you must first think about where.
The place you graduate is not the only place you can work. Many Osteopaths find themselves in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and everywhere in-between.
It will take a bit more planning, but you have gained a powerful qualification. I encourage you to use it to its maximum potential.
If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity of a lifetime helping people in Bali, take a look at the Hands With Heart Foundation on Facebook.
3- Associate, Clinic Owner Or Both?
There are three main pathways you can choose from:
There are pros and cons to each pathway. However, each option is an extremely viable choice.
Whichever one you decide to choose, it’s key to remember that you’re in business, think like a business person.
If you’re struggling, pop into your local bank and set up a meeting with someone who can give you ideas about money management and being self-employed.
It’s essential to have a plan and budget for the next month, four months, and year. Google “SMART goals” to get started with effective goal setting.
4- Associate Osteopath
This is the most common pathway for new graduates to take as it gives job security as well as being a dependable way to start earning. Although it’s tempting, don’t jump on the first offer you get. It’s important to shop around to ensure you’ve made the correct choice for you.
Dress appropriately for the interview, be nice to the receptionist and listen to the phone. First impressions matter, all principles’ will ask the receptionist how you greeted them, and the phone gives you a small indication about how busy the clinic is.
The standard associate rate is a 50/50 split. However, some will offer you a 55-60% split. It’s always worth asking if the percentage could increase as you see more people.
Being an associate allows you to cherry-pick which aspects of the clinic you value and apply it to your clinic if you eventually build one.
Furthermore, you are not locked into a particular clinic if you choose to leave. This allows you to give appropriate notice and apply your skills in a completely different area. However, it does mean you’ll have to start all over again!
Finally, you need to understand your roles and responsibilities as an associate.
- Are you expected to be there even if you have no patients?
- Does the clinic pay for marketing?
- Do you have to attend all clinic meetings?
- What are the clinic’s goals and ambitions for the next year or so?
Knowing these kinds of questions will give you a better indication of what it’s like to work in that clinic.
Benefits Of Being An Associate Osteopath:
Associateships can offer many benefits including;
- Learn how an established clinic is run
- Observe experienced practitioners
- Integrate with other associate practitioners
- Understand how the principle promotes their clinic
- Minimal expenses
- Practice what it’s like to work a busy list
- Participate in in-clinic group CPD events
- Holiday flexibility
- Paid salary plus bonuses
5- Clinic Owner
Building a clinic is not an easy road, but it’s an incredible journey. Taking this option doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a grand and illustrious clinic. I and many new graduates have rented a room/space then market it as an independent business.
Before starting a business, it’s important to get in contact with your local council, Osteopathy insurance company, and experienced Osteopaths who have done it before to get some structure. This will ensure a smooth-ish start when you open.
Despite the almost endless list of things to do, learn, and juggle, the pay off is that if you build a successful clinic you will get a sense of unparalleled achievement.
There are so many different learning curves of things you either need to learn how to do or cough up the money for someone else to deal with.
Some of which include;
- Creating a brand
- Doing your taxes
- Running social media
- Investing in equipment and software
- Paying rent and utilities
- Building a website and effective SEO
- Learning efficient clinic marketing methods
New Clinic Owner Top Tips:
Rent/Lease grace period:
Always ask your landlord if there is a grace period available before you start. Especially if you’re paying some months in advance and you’re looking to make a few changes.
An excellent website to hire professionals to do anything. From logo design and website building to video editing and SEO. Affordable and amazing.
It’s better if a real person answers your phone. You can hire a virtual receptionist if you can’t afford a clinic one.
Keep To One Diary:
I recommend the Bullet Journal Method. Write everything down and review every day to build momentum.
Community Is Key:
If you can get involved within your community, your name and reputation as an Osteopath will spread much faster.
A fantastic website to easily create social media posts for your clinic. It has 100’s of templates for you to use and modify to keep on brand.
Use professional services like Vistaprint.com or even better a local printing service to create your business cards and other handouts.
Learn An Expensive Skill:
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6- Associate & Clinic Owner
Lastly, you could do what I did. Establish a clinic while being an associate at another.
I chose this option because it provided me with an income to pay off my business expenses. It also put me in a position to see how other clinics worked while allowing me to grow my own business.
Communication is essential for this option. I encourage you to always work with other Osteopaths. I was open and honest about running my clinic with my associate clinic owner which allowed us to have an excellent working relationship.
When I closed my clinic to move overseas I was more than happy to recommend my associate clinic to a significant number of my patients.
7- Do Your Research
This is an un-skippable step because it allows you to minimise your mistakes. Trust me, you’ll need to keep expensive mistakes few and far between.
Not your “I did a hypothetical business plan in the third year” research. Proper research.
- Who is my competition?
- How much should I charge per patient?
- Which associateship offers me the best opportunities?
- How many people do I need to see to supplement my desired lifestyle?
- Can I see myself working here for 5 or more years?
Those kinds of questions.
Wherever you are looking to work, get to know everything about that community as they will be the people who keep you in a job.
Join existing and online groups for local running clubs, gyms, or dog walkers, etc. Find out the best cafes and restaurants. The more involved you are in the community the quicker your reputation as an Osteopath will spread around the area.
Sit outside potential clinics and count how many people walk past in an hour. Is the local area filled with single people, families, older?
Think about the types of patients you would see in that community and ask yourself;
- Are these my ideal patients?
- Would I enjoy treating the type of people in this area?
- Can I use my experience here to become an expert in the fields I’m most interested in?
8- Find An Osteopath Career Mentor
Okay, so you’ve briefly become a detective and you’ve thoroughly researched all aspects of the career path you’re aiming to take. Great!
Find yourself a mentor. It may be your associate clinic owner, a tutor, or a clinic owner you admire, or anyone who inspires you as an Osteopath. Build a relationship with them and pick their brains about everything.
The more support you have, the more confident you will be in how you treat, and how you conduct your business. All of these will make you a better Osteopath.
9- Create A Support Network
The first few months of being a full-time Osteopath are tough for most people. I found having a group chat of a few trusted Osteo friends helped me significantly.
Having a confidential group to bounce ideas off, share what you’re going through as a new graduate, and people to turn to for guidance in every aspect of my professional career has been invaluable.
As you move on from your first few months, you will begin to find your rhythm. That’s because you have a professional support network.
Once you’ve steaded yourself, its time to focus on courses and subjects that work towards your goals, just as you are.
If you’re aiming to build your patient list in your second year, invest a good amount of CPD into marketing and communication courses.
For example, if you’re seeing more ankle injuries than expected, choose a course that will boost your credibility and expertise in that field.
10- Making Mistakes
This is important. You will make mistakes and a lot of them, and that’s okay.
If you do, it’s time to spend some time reflecting on what happened and how you can improve in case the occasion arises again.
You have an amazing support group and mentor, you have trusted people to speak to who can help you learn from your experience. Chances are they may have been through a similar experience.
You have an amazing qualification which offers something different every single day, not many jobs can say that!
Being an Osteopath also enables you to earn an okay amount of money without working a load of hours. So, take advantage of that. Enjoy time away on city and countryside breaks, and holidays, spend time with family and friends.
You have just entered a brilliant profession. So, sit back and pat yourself on the back!
11- Take Action!
Osteohustle was created to provide Osteopaths the tools they need to learn how to be great marketers. We want to show the Osteopathic community that marketing can be easy, ethical, and effective.
Osteopathy is in desperate need of a shakeup, and that starts with you. I’m here to empower you to take control of your brand, clinic, and marketing. We need to come together as Osteopaths and communicate how incredible Osteopathy can be.
Don't just wish for it - Hustle!
About Alan Zaia M.Ost
Osteopath, ethical Osteopathy business advice, motivation, self driven all delivered with a British accent. From creating the perfect patient experience and creative clinic marketing to patient-generating websites, Google Ads and stunning social media, you’ll find me here, at the beach or on a call making Osteopaths create their perfect work:life balance. Keep up if you can!
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I Know You Can Do It Because I Did
When I started out, I had barely any budget, knowledge or experience.
Now, I’m teaching hundreds of Osteopaths all over the world how easy it is to spread the word about themselves and the clinic they work in. Above all, I know you can learn how simple the process is too.