ACA 2014 survey results chiropractic generational gaps

Examining The DC’s Professional Lifecycle

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]For the past four years, I have served on the American Chiropractic Association’s Membership Executive Committee, which is tasked with examining key reasons ACA attracts and retains members and to assure the association remains responsive to those issues.

In 2014, the ACA surveyed its members to probe deeper than the classic questions about tangible member benefits. The survey asked about the “why” in an effort to understand members’ feelings and rationale. The survey results were used to inform the development of member profiles for individuals, grouped by where they are in their professional lifecycle.

The ACA will use the member profile initiative as a guide in establishing priorities, communications, and benefits to meet and exceed members’ needs at their current career stage. Participating in this evolving process has enlightened me about the needs of doctors of chiropractic, shifting attitudes, and generational preferences. What follows is what I consider to be some of the most noteworthy trends uncovered during the member profile initiative process:

Community knows no age

Each of the five member profile groups, from new practitioners to those on the brink of retirement, included a reference to valuing shared experiences by coming together with other practitioners. While each group referred to it in a slightly different way–new practitioners used words like “unity” and “cooperation,” while those in the middle of their career opted for a “call to action” that brings people together around a common cause, and those later in their career preferred to focus on “shared knowledge” and “partnership”–the sentiments were similar and permeated across generational lines. Isolation is the enemy of progress; we can accomplish more together.

The generational shift is clear

That’s right, baby boomers: like it or not, the millennials have arrived on the scene of the chiropractic profession. They are your associates, they are that new doctor who just moved to your town, they are certainly showing up en masse to have their voice heard online, and they are even writing this article. But before you let out a collective sigh, consider this: of the large group of practitioners in their first 10 years of practice who responded to the survey, one of the most common responses expressed when asked what about the meaning of ACA membership was a reverence and appreciation for the accomplishments and sacrifices of doctors of chiropractic who have come before them and a desire to build upon that legacy.

It will come as no surprise that millennials prefer a drastically different communication style to that preferred by other generations, but don’t let that distract from the fact that they are waiting for the baby boomer generation to ask them to get involved. Don’t overlook the power of these well connected new practitioners. They could just be the greatest asset to propelling the chiropractic profession to cultural authority unimagined, if given the opportunity.

Change is coming

Every group was clear on one point: change is imminent. We all know health care has been a moving target over the past few years. The only promise at this point is that much more will change; it simply has to. And while the outlook toward this eventuality seems to shift throughout the professional lifecycle–from excitement for a chance to innovate, to a predilection for strategic advocacy, to a focus on long-term stability–no one seems to deny that a transformation is forthcoming, but also necessary.

It is time for every doctor of chiropractic, from the minute they graduate to the moment they retire, to roll up their sleeves, take a seat at the table, and take responsibility for the work that needs to be done. Change will happen no matter what; we need proactive, creative innovators of all ages and backgrounds to come together and ensure the change is for the better. So let’s get to work! Who’s with me?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Click here to read more about Dr. Henson. The author’s opinions are their own and DC Aligned does not take responsibility for content statements and opinions. You should seek expert counsel in evaluating opinions, treatments, products and services. For more info see our Editorial Policies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]