There are many different avenues open to nursing graduates: you can work in a hospital, work in a doctor’s office, continue your education, or find employment in any number of government and health care facilities. One less common path is to turn to holistic medicine or alternative care therapies. Although many types of holistic medicine are looked down upon by the medical profession as a whole, many people swear by therapies like massage, acupuncture, herbalism, and even chiropractic medicine.
What is Chiropractic Health Care?
Chiropractic medicine is a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that emphasizes the importance of the spine and the musculoskeletal system in overall bodily health. By manipulating the spine, joints, and tissues, a chiropractor hopes to heal different disorders and promote a healthier, more active lifestyle.
To the medical community, chiropractic medicine presents a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the idea that working with the spine can “cure” ailments not directly related to the nervous system hasn’t yet caught on with standard Western medicine teachings. On the other hand, many people swear by the practice and really do reap valuable benefits from it. For nurses, this presents an even bigger problem: by becoming a chiropractic nurse, you straddle the line between the medical community and holistic medicine.
Should I Become a Chiropractic Nurse?
Straddling the medical boundary can be a difficult place to be, especially if you have gone through all of nursing school and are now a registered nurse with an advanced college degree and a license. Do you stay true to your education and work in a legitimized health care field, or do you work in a field that you believe in, even if it means stepping away from the health community?
No one can answer that question for you. As a chiropractic nurse, you will most likely be doing much of the same work you would be doing in any other setting, preparing patients for their sessions with the doctor, answering questions, and patient charting. However, because chiropractors are not doctors, they don’t prescribe medication or keep patients overnight, which will considerably reduce your job responsibilities and experience.
And because there are no formal courses that will allow you to specialize in chiropractic nursing, you will be on your own when it comes to continuing education within your field. In fact, because the level of education is fairly similar in length, you might be better off not going to nursing school and simply becoming a chiropractor instead.
Additional Nursing Options
Fortunately, there are alternate options if this is a field you’re interested in. You may work with osteopaths, orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, sports medicine providers, or other professionals who deal in the skeleton and muscle tissue, but within a more traditional medical setting. However, if you do have an interest in holistic modalities and how you might be able to combine your formal medical education with alternative options, chiropractic nursing might be perfect for you.