014: 3 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Opened My Clinic
When my oldest daughter was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, I set out on a journey to find resources and answers to save her life. At the time, I had no clue of the link between our food and our health – and I felt painfully alone on that journey. And several years later, when I finally opened my clinic, I quickly realized there was much more to know. And honestly, it felt overwhelming and very lonely.
But now, many years later, after having dedicated so much of my time to help other alternative medicine practitioners, there are three things I wish I’d known when I was getting started.
Today, I’m sharing these three key learnings and how you can use them to grow as a practitioner, expand your knowledge base, and better serve your patients.
- Why connecting with local practitioners and hosting meetups, even virtually, is so valuable for your learning.
- How to get focused training in the areas you want to specialize in.
- Why it’s so important to spend dedicated time learning.
You’ve got to schedule time to learn so you can show up every day and be a better clinician than you were the day before. – @DrRondaNelson Click To Tweet
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Dr. Ronda Nelson: Welcome to The Clinical Entrepreneur, a business podcast that’s dedicated to health care practitioners just like you who are hustling every day to build a business and a life you’re proud of. Join me, Ronda Nelson, as I share my own experiences and extract actionable advice from industry experts about what it takes to build and scale a profitable wellness practice.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I am so delighted that you decided to join me again today. If this is your first time reading along to The Clinical Entrepreneur Podcast, I think that you’ll find this one a little interesting and raw. I am not going to cut out any details.
I started in functional nutrition or clinical nutrition shortly after my oldest daughter was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. It is quite an upsetting time when you find out that your oldest child has terminal cancer. Once we received the news, I quickly pivoted and began investigating, looking for resources or answers that would help her fight to save her life. As I did that, I began seeing a connection between the food we eat and the health of the body. We would assume everyone knows that, but I suppose there’s quite a population of people that don’t. In our world, we all get that connection. But at the time, I had no clue. I had no idea that doughnuts were bad for you besides just being sweet. I didn’t know because I didn’t have people around me in my life that spoke that language. I didn’t have anyone that could feed me that information and allow me to start to shift my paradigm.
So, when my oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer, it was a game-changer. But, I found myself feeling very alone and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. My husband at the time thought I was crazy. I kept saying there has to be a connection because I started to see the consistent thread that ran through my life, and then her life, and then our other two children’s lives. I knew there was a relationship between the health of the body and food. That is what led me on this journey and the discovery of using food. That’s why I love using Standard Process and MediHerb. That’s my thing. Whatever supplement company you use or love, you go with yourself on that. This is just what I love to use because I so powerfully saw that connection. The hardest part was the feeling of being alone. I didn’t have anyone to run any ideas by. When I opened up my account with one vendor and then the next vendor and the next vendor because I was just searching and looking, I went through 10 different supplement companies before I found Standard Process. They were the first company to resonate with who I was and what my beliefs were.
As I went through all of the different supplement companies, I found that there was still a lot of isolation. You would think that being in that kind of community, you would find other people that are like you. People that would want to help you, encourage you in your practice, your knowledge, and your education. But, I still found myself still feeling very alone. I remember when I first opened my clinic, this little tiny room in this big three-story office building, opening the door to this little office, walking in and feeling so lonely. I knew enough to help people, but I didn’t know enough about the tools I needed to use to get them better. I didn’t know enough about the supplements in the supplement companies. I didn’t know how they worked. I didn’t know what part of the body they affected. I understood it from what I had learned in school, but I didn’t have any real-time real-life experience, nor did I have anyone teaching me.
Now, typically, you would find that a supplement company and they would have a sales rep for you. They would visit and educate you about the products. I lived so far remote that I didn’t have anyone. It was 10 years into an account with one of the companies before I ever had my first rep visit, so I had to teach myself and that is lonely. I didn’t like it. But I learned when you get between a rock and a hard place and you know that someone’s health is depending on whether or not I know what I’m talking about, it’s pretty darn motivating to go get out some textbooks and start figuring this stuff out.
I was still so lonely and I felt like I didn’t have anyone in my corner batting for me. That is why I am so passionate about educating practitioners about how to use tools to help their patients because I wish that I had had that.
Here are three things that I wish that I had known or done that would have made such a huge difference and would have accelerated my learning dramatically. Number one, I would have connected up with a group of local practitioners and I would have done some kind of a meetup. Now, back in the day, this is in 2004, meetups weren’t a thing. You just didn’t do that. Everyone kind of worked in their own little corner and I worked in a chiropractic clinic in this Northern California town. I loved studying and I loved learning but what I found was that no one else loved it as much as me and there wasn’t a place where I could call up another person and say, “Hey, you want to connect up and go meet for coffee and let’s just talk about this stuff?” I found that most people were kind of averse to the whole thing or they were averse to sharing their knowledge. Because, oh my gosh, what if we’re competing with each other? And I was shocked by that. I thought, “What? What do you mean competing? Would you be able to take care of all the people in this population of 100,000 people?” Clearly no.
There’s plenty of room for lots of different people because everybody brings their expertise and their perspective about how to incorporate or implement or use nutritional support, lifestyle recommendations, exercise, diet, all those things to help a patient. Collectively, we can learn so much more from each other when we’re in a community. It’s a big secret but we’re always learning. We’re always learning something about how to work with a mold case, a heavy metals case, a yeast case, a SIBO case, or a female hormone case. We’re always learning. It’s not about me knowing more than you. It’s coming with that attitude of I want you to teach me, I want to be the grasshopper. I want you to teach me and then I’ll share with you what I know. So that’s the first thing, I would have had a small community to connect with.
Number two, I wish that I had had some kind of focused training. I wish I would have had a way to be able to access training information about the products that I was using. I now use Standard Process and MediHerb as my primary. I’ve got a few other ones, but those are kind of my primary ones because they resonate with my vibe and my style but I didn’t have any training. There were a few resources, which I didn’t even have access to. I didn’t even know they existed for a long time but I wish that there had been some kind of training because that would have accelerated my process. It would have made it so much faster and happen so much more effectively, not only for the patient but for my knowledge, because then I can help even more people.
The third one is I wish that I had spent more dedicated time learning. Now, that sounds like a little bit of the same thing as what I just said for number two, but it’s not. Because if you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t get done. I would think, “Oh, yeah, I need to read this book.” Back in the day, there was a popular book and it was called Prescription Guide For Nutritional Healing and it was all the rage. It was kind of like the first alternative book that was very popular. I remember flipping through it thinking, “Oh, yeah, there’s some good information in here that I can learn from. I’ll get back to that.” but it just sat on the edge of my desk and I would randomly flip through it. However, what I didn’t do was block out an hour on my calendar for one hour to say, “Today for this hour between 10 and 11 am I’m not going to answer the phone. I am not going to think about anything else. I’m just going to put my nose down and I’m going to study.” We know that the more focused and intent you put on an activity or an action that you’re doing, the more efficient and the deeper you can go into the material and retain it so much better. I wasn’t retaining anything by flipping the cover open, looking it over a little bit, and then closing the cover. I wasn’t retaining anything except just irritating myself because I wasn’t learning anything. So I wish that I would have scheduled the time. I would have planned the time to learn.
Those are the three things I wish that I had done differently. That, my friend, is why I started Clinical Academy was for reason number one. It was because I know now how to get in a community and I’ve got a thriving community on Mighty Network. I’ve got lots of practitioners that I can go to, they can ask me, and we work together as a community. What I knew was still missing was honest, raw, real, clinical information that will help practitioners serve their patients in a higher, better, more effective way by teaching them what they need to know. Not all that boring biochemistry.
Yes, we have to know that but we just want to get out of the gate and off the line, right? The only way I can do that is by having a collection of resources that are going to help me do that. If you are reading this and you are a functional medicine practitioner, you’re tired of not having the answers, and you’re tired of having that patient look at you in the eyes and tell you that they are bloated all the time and they have no idea why, and in return, you aren’t exactly sure how to help. I want you to consider that Clinical Academy could be that answer for you. When you join Clinical Academy (link in the show notes), you’ll have access to all kinds of clinical information and resources that will allow you to quickly find and access the information that you need right now. The patient is in your office with this situation, you can go search it, find it, and have an idea about how to get them started. Then you can schedule that time on your calendar to say, “Okay, I need to know more about constipation and I need to understand what are the reasons behind constipation. Or I need to understand more about blood sugar. What is hypoglycemia? And how does it tie in with adrenal function, with cortisol?”
I am very, very passionate about educating practitioners in this world of functional medicine or functional nutrition. I’d love to have you join me. This is not something that comes along every day. It’s only open twice a year and I don’t want you to miss out. I don’t want to get an email in two weeks that said, “Please, I missed it. I thought about it and I waited too long,” because we only do it twice a year. That is because I want to pour everything I can and all that I have into the new practitioners that come in so I can help them get set up to have clinical success after clinical success. That’s what I’m about and I would love to have you join me.
To quickly recap what we talked about, number one, be in community. Find people that you can be with that speak your language, whether that’s with me or it’s with someone else in your community, your local area, or with the supplement company that you have. Number two, find the resources that will help you to learn. Whatever floats your boat and makes you light up because you love this particular aspect of functional medicine, find the resources that are going to help you learn that more efficiently. Lastly, don’t forget to schedule time to learn. Just like you schedule time to be with your family or you schedule time to take a vacation, this is your job, my friend. This is your vacation. People are counting on you but don’t let that go to waste. You got to schedule that time so that you can show up every day and be a better clinician than you were the day before. All of those people out there, all those patients and their children and their children’s children, they’re waiting, my friend, for you and I to show up big for them. They need us to help them recover their health to affect not only their lives but that makes them healthier mamas and daddies. And then the children are happier and they have stronger, better offspring because they’re feeding their families differently. The ripple effect goes on and on and on and that’s what lights me up at the end of the day. I love knowing that you and I can have an impact on future generations by who we pour into and who we help today.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: There are my three tips. Go check out Clinical Academy. I’d love to have you join me. I would be honored to have you join me. Take care, my friend. I will be back next week on The Clinical Entrepreneur Podcast. Take care!
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