Chiropractors are licensed professionals who treat problems of the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. They use non-invasive techniques to heal such disorders, such as manipulation of the spine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this use of alternative treatments that don’t involve surgery or drugs makes them in demand by patients.
According to Chiropractic Economics, one new trend for some chiropractic groups is to work with other medical providers. For example, Riva et al wrote about how some chiropractors now work in the same building as other medical providers and collaborate in order to help a wider range of patients than either medical or chiropractic practices alone than in the past. Chiropractic Economics spoke in particular of the trend for chiropractors to consider hiring a nurse practitioner (NP), who then are referred to as a chiropractic nurse.
What a Nurse Practitioner Brings to a Chiropractic Office
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners are legally empowered to diagnose and treat medical problems. They can order medical tests and interpret the results. They can also prescribe medicines in 48 of the 50 states.
Chiropractic Nurse Job Description
According to Chiropractic Economics, nurse practitioners that have a specialty in orthopedics or sports medicine can diagnose and order outpatient injections in joints and tendons. They can utilize hyaluronic acid in the treatment of osteoarthritis. They are licensed to inject stem-cells or platelet-rich plasma. They are also able to administer B-12 injections. Chiropractors are not able to prescribe or inject any type of medicine into patients.
In fact, another big plus for any chiropractic practice in having a chiropractic nurse practitioner onboard is that the NP can prescribe vitamins and nutritional supplements to patients. According to Dynamic Chiropractic, many chiropractors would like to be able to add an NP to their staff in order to aid their patients by getting them off of dangerous medicines that have side effects and move them towards harmless vitamins and nutritional supplements as alternatives to the drugs. Thus, nurse practitioners working with chiropractors complement their practice by performing injections of certain therapeutic substances and prescribing vitamins and nutritional supplements to patients.
There are several caveats that nursing practitioners need to consider if they are contemplating a job offer at a chiropractic office.
One issue is to ensure that your work with a chiropractic office does not violate the standards of your state licensing board.
Also, you need to ensure that the chiropractor is following state laws in terms of you actually seeing the patients and making a diagnosis because the chiropractor cannot make a diagnosis for treatment of any kind that is a medicine or an injection. There are anecdotal reports on the internet by some nurse practitioners that they are in a situation under the employ of a chiropractor who was not following the law regarding such complementary traditional and alternative medicine collaborations.
Some chiropractors are so enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to prescribe their patients vitamins and supplements and perform certain types of injections that they are contemplating working on their own nursing practitioner BSN to MSN, fast-track programs, so they have dual licensing and can provide a more comprehensive smorgasbord of services to their patients.
The Alternative to Chiropractic Nursing
Some nurses would like to work in alternative medicine. For them, the attraction is that alternative medicine is less invasive than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine treats many types of illnesses with either surgery or medicines. Students with either an RN or an associate degree in nursing who have achieved state licensure and who would prefer to provide a wider range of treatments to patients can purse the certification as a holistic nurse that is available through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.
In order to achieve certification as a Holistic Nurse, one must have graduated a nationally-accredited nursing program, achieved state licensure, completed 48 hours of nursing education in holistic nursing and passed the examination provided by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.
What this certification will allow nurses to do in addition to the responsibilities conferred by their initial licensure is that they can utilize healing practices from both Eastern and Western medicine for the benefit of their patients. For example, holistic nurses tend to utilize techniques such as stress management training, massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, hypnosis, wellness training and aromatherapy for the therapeutic benefit of their patients.
Thus, licensed nurses who do not yet have their nursing practitioner credentials can still be a part of wellness and holistic treatments. The difference is that they cannot diagnose patients and propose a treatment plan. They also cannot prescribe medicines nor an injection regimen.
Chiropractic Nurse Salary
A chiropractic nurse practitioner will be able to command the same salary range as that of other nurse practitioners, around $90,000 to $100,000 per year. Part-time NPs earn $50 to $60 an hour.
For nurse practitioners who are committed to alternative medicine, the opportunity to work in chiropractic nursing allows them to utilize their skills in a more holistic manner. Chiropractic nurses work to alleviate patient pain and suffering in a manner that does not cause further damage to a patient’s body such as is the case with many drugs prescribed in traditional medicine. Nurses must stay aware that their activities and those of their employer are in compliance with all laws that relate to their practitioner designation.