Caring Too Much?

A common theme among countless telephone consultations with chiropractors who feel stuck, or find themselves in under-performing practices, is the subject of caring.

Rarely is the problem caring too little. Unless they are already in the grips of burnout. Usually, it's caring too much.

Finding the right balance is crucial. It's a professional boundary essential for a sustainable, enjoyable practice.

Freedom That Becomes a Burden

Just how do you measure professional caregiving? How do you remain empathetic and engaged, but not cross the line into parenting?

Feeling emotionally fatigued at the end of the day is a sign. Losing your temper or simply being frustrated is a clue.

There are other, less obvious clues that often become habituated. Sometimes there are policies, procedures or situations in which a professional boundary is bent, altered or even ignored.

As the practice owner, you have the freedom to indulge yourself in any number of boundary-busting behaviors. Yet, this freedom can become a burden if abused.

A Simple 10-Question Assessment

Here are some questions that can reveal areas in which you may be stepping over the line, creating an unhealthy level of unreciprocated emotional investments.

After answering the questions, read the commentary explaining what each question may reveal. Then, download the PDF version and use it to stimulate a dialogue at your next team meeting.

Do You Care Too Much?

1. I feel a twinge of anger when patients miss appointments or disregard my recommendations.
         ☐ Often     ☐ Never

2. I'll modify my usual adjusting procedure to please a new patient or avoid conflict.
         ☐ Occasionally      ☐ Never

3. I find myself a bit annoyed when patients engage in health-sabotaging choices or behaviors.
         ☐ Sometimes      ☐ Never

4. I make myself available evenings, weekends and holidays in case patients should need me.
         ☐ Sure      ☐ Never

5. I become defensive when patients express disappointment with the pace of their recovery.
         ☐ Usually      ☐ Never

6. When patients drop out of care early it's usually because of something I forgot to say or do.
         ☐ Possibly      ☐ Never

7. When patients delight in their progress, I deservedly accept their praise and adulation.
         ☐ Of course      ☐ Never

8. Patients often discontinue their care without saying goodbye or announcing their last visit.
         ☐ Frequently      ☐ Never

9. We permit patients to accrue outstanding balances that frequently become uncollectable.
         ☐ Sometimes      ☐ Never

10. When speaking with friends, family and colleagues I refer to them as "my" patients.
         ☐ Yes      ☐ Never

What your answers may reveal.