I STARTED IN A CLINIC that didn’t allow me to thrive as a Naturopathic doctor. I was constantly frustrated and unhappy in my practice because the owner and clinic environment was not supportive of my growth, independence, or success. Although I went through five months of headache (and heartache), I now know this experience had a greater purpose.
My first clinic experience taught me exactly what I wanted and needed in a clinic, and left me prepared to find the RIGHT one the next time around.
After leaving the first clinic, a weight lifted off my shoulders. I removed myself from a negative environment that left me feeling drained and unhappy nearly every day. I was excited to choose my next clinic. I knew that I was wiser for the experience and had a greater capacity to choose a clinic most conducive to my success.
The following are the five key factors for choosing the right clinic:
1. A Great Owner
The owner of a clinic will have the greatest impact on your happiness and success at a your prospective clinic. A great owner is one that:
- Runs his or her business with integrity;
- Follows through with promises;
- Is honest, open, and trustworthy at all times;
- Genuinely cares about the well being of his or her practitioners and employees.
It’s not easy to find a great owner, so I urge you to spend time getting to know prospective clinic owners before you commit to a clinic.
2. A Positive Energy Environment
Have you ever felt anxious and stressed walking into a workplace? The chances are it’s a negative energy environment and you should turn right around.
When you walk into a prospective clinic, look for a comfortable and relaxed feel in the space. Observe and talk to other practitioners. If they appear happy, friendly and relaxed there is a good chance you will be that way too. It seems basic, but when you’re spending hours of your day in this space, you want to make sure you’re surrounded by positive people.
3. A Naturopathic-Focused Clinic
My colleagues and I agree that it’s in your best interest to join a clinic that is predominantly Naturopathic-focused. A clinic that is either run by an ND, or is set up such that the ND’s are the primary or dominant practitioners is advantageous for a couple reasons:
- If the ND is the owner, he or she will understand your needs and what type of activities will support your growth and success.
- Patients will automatically view the ND as the primary health care provider and it subtly creates a hierarchy of care at a clinic, whereby the ND is seen as the practitioner with the highest level of knowledge and skills.
4. An Established, Loyal Patient Base
A clinic that has an established and loyal patient base, especially if it is Naturopathic focused, will facilitate the growth of your own patient base. If the clinic is overflowing with patients on any given day, your exposure to these patients and potential referral from other practitioners will help to passively generating new patients. Also, an established and loyal Naturopathic patient base is more likelihood of obtaining word-of-mouth referrals from happy current or past clients.
To get insight on this issue, ask the clinic owner for a breakdown of the number of active and inactive patient files, look at their booking and scheduling system, and observe the flow of patients in and out of the clinic over the course of a day.
5. A Strong Online Presence
More than ever, businesses need to develop and maintain their online presence in order to stay competitive and attract new customers. Many potential patients will search the internet to find a Naturopathic doctor in their area, or one that specializes in the concern they have.
It is extremely helpful if the prospective clinic has good search engine optimization (SEO), meaning that the clinic is one that appears at the top of the search engine page (ie. Naturopathic Doctor Ottawa).
Obviously you should work on your own personal website and its SEO as well, but it can take years to attain a high SEO. My advice would be to check your potential clinics’ websites, social media and SEO so that you know how easily the clinic will be found in the online world.
Understanding these five factors has benefited me immensely in choosing my second practice location. I am thankful to say that my second and current clinic embodies each of these key factors. I was 99% certain of this in my first meeting with the owner, because I knew what specific questions to ask.
But it wasn’t only the answers that gave me confidence, the owner was an open, genuine, and good-hearted; a person I could trust. My gut told me that she cared enough about me as a person to support my growth, success, independence, and happiness as an ND at her clinic. And my gut was right.
Finding the right clinic truly is key to your success as a Naturopathic doctor.
Yes, there are the logistics and rational reasons as to why a particular clinic will facilitate your success, but the ultimate reason is that being in the right clinic will make you HAPPY. When you’re happy you will be more energetic, driven and motivated to do what it takes to be successful in your Naturopathic practice.
My final words are simple…
When looking at potential clinics, use your head when assessing the logistics, but use your heart to get a sense of belonging.