About a month into my new community acupuncture practice, I texted Brian (my husband). Here’s what I said:
‘I had 7!”
Students will appreciate the excitement of this moment. In a mere four hour shift, I treated seven whole patients! And talked to them too! And completed charts, and even picked up the phone.
YEAH! Maybe I could keep this clinic afloat.
Here’s my text last week.”I had 16.” Note the missing exclamation point. 16 treatments in 4 hours is, of course, not horrible. That’s 16 people getting an affordable acupuncture treatment. I treated sciatic pain (x3), migraines, PCOS symptoms, a sprained ankle, insomnia, constipation, etc etc.
But now my fledgling little clinic is nearing its 3-year anniversary, provided more than 10,000 treatments last year, helps support six employees (not contractors, not volunteers), and the responsibility we all have now at our clinic is to stay solvent. Our goal is to average 20 treatments per shift. So “I had 16,” is not great news. The shift before, I had 29. And another acupuncturist had just done 24. And another, 21. And on a slow day, 15.
So, we are doing OK. Because we have a committed group of employees all on board with getting people in, bringing them back, and getting them better. These people, in turn, mostly love us, and then spread the word (and often bring 1, 2, or 3 people in with them).
My point is that it is possible to provide about 1,000 treatments a month (our 2012 goal) in a 485 square foot space with 7 recliners.
People still ask me all the time,”How long have you been doing this?” And I tell them we opened this little clinic less than 3 years ago, and that I, myself, gave over 5,000 acupuncture teratments last year. Any more questions?
Students, and private practitioners, please pause for a moment and imagine how it would feel to give more than 100 treatments a week.
It is an indescribable blessing and honor. On my “slow” days, when I get worried about payroll due in a matter of days, I send gratitude to everyone I can think of whom I have recently seen for acupuncture. To thank them for supporting us so we can be around to offer more acupuncture. Even when it’s “only” 16 people in a morning.