In chiropractic practices across the world are a special type of hero. They don’t offer adjustments or consultations or reports of findings, but what they do is priceless. They are none other than our CA’s. From being the first point of contact for the people under our care, to setting the tone in the reception room, they can be powerful communicators of chiropractic and assets to the practice. Yet up until four years ago, no professional association existed just for them.
The Chiropractic Assistants Association of Australia (or C triple A) exists to fill that void, aiming to resource chiropractic practices and CA’s with the information they need to enhance chiropractic communication from the moment the person steps through the door. The C Triple A runs events, webinars, training programs and is a valued fundraising partner to Spinal Research.
They’ve also just gotten a new President in the form of Kate Rudd. It’s shaping up to be a busy year for Kate, whose chiropractor husband Malcolm just joined the Spinal Research board. They’re a pair who are passionate about giving back to the profession that has given so much to them. For Kate, the C Triple A is at an exciting time in its history. The team is formed. The mission is clear. Now it’s a matter of getting the word out.
“The C Triple A was founded four years ago by a group of us. Cherine Matthews-Lawler was president up until I took over last year. Really it was about connecting like-minded CA’s, and creating a place for us to go to be supported and have our questions answered.”
A group of dedicated volunteers grew the association from its humble beginnings; working with events, social media and fundraising initiatives to creating a thriving association. “There are about 200 clinics that are currently members, but we are getting the word out even more. We are going onwards and upwards,” says Kate, who is excited about increasing engagement in the seminars and webinars that the C Triple A puts on to support its growing membership base.
Their training sessions, such as a specialized version of “Talk the TIC” for CA’s, are receiving positive reviews. “It’s been great! It’s lovely to hear people ask ‘Are you coming to our capital city? We want to send our team.’ We are actually off to Sydney for the first time this year, and it’s great to know there is a growing demand for what we have on offer.”
Kate’s perspective on CA’s is one that many chiropractors would share – that they could greatly enhance the communication of chiropractic through the experience the person has at the practice. The C Triple A is about supporting just that:
“We are very fortunate. We get to see our clients twice per visit – as they walk in and as they walk out, along with while they are waiting. That can add up to quite a bit of time, during which we can have a very real impact. They are in the reception area while they wait. They’re talking to us, reading the posters and reading material, and talking about chiropractic. We can actually impart a lot of information during that time and create a memorable experience, through the clinic’s appearance or just through conversation. The impact we can have on that client can make or break their visit, so it’s really important to have a great CA at the front desk.
That’s why part of the C Triple A is about developing training modules on our website where CA’s can learn how to do different things – from answering a phone with a smile, to policies and procedures, to answering queries – that makes for a great CA. This is just one of the things the C Triple A does to support the chiropractic profession.”
It isn’t just the basics that the C Triple A invests in. Monthly webinars cover a variety of topics – answering the questions or queries put forward by the membership base, or informing the CA’s of new research and information that may assist them.
When it comes to training needs, the C Triple A looks to its membership base. “When we are employing CAs (at our clinic personally), we really don’t care if they know about chiropractic or not. If they haven’t, it can all be trained and that’s a great clean slate to start from. If they do have an experience with chiropractic, then that’s great! It [the development of training modules] is something we’ve been toying with at the C Triple A for a while though – what is it that chiropractors and CA’s want to be trained on? We will be putting this out to the community and discovering what it is that they need. We’ll turn it into modules from there.
For Kate, its an exciting time to be involved in chiropractic, and the C Triple A. Sure, there is a lot happening in and around the profession but there’s also a growing awareness around what chiropractic can offer. Part of the C Triple A’s drive is to boost communication of chiropractic research, and that involves fundraising to make that happen.
“We’ve been around for 4 years but just in the last 12 months it’s taken off. It started with Mr. Bonejangles, a joint initiative with Spinal Research. It starts the conversations around who we are and we can then take that to a point where we can connect with and support our members.
What is the Mr. Bone Jangles initiative?
“Spinal Research has been really supportive of the C Triple A and we were thinking of a way we could give back. The committee got together to think of a fundraiser and it was around the time that McHappy Day was on. On those days, everyone buys a hand, writes their name on and sticks it on the window. The proceeds go to Ronald McDonald house. Now, we don’t exactly promote that sort of food, but the concept was such a good one, we decided to adapt it.
With Mr. Bone Jangles, everyone buys a bone, writes their name on the bone and we put Mr. Bone Jangles together again. It’s fun, it increases awareness about the spine, and it raises money for Spinal Research. Last year we had 55 (Mr. Bone Jangles kits) out in clinics around Australia. We raised almost $10,000 for Spinal Research. This year we are aiming for 150, and the promotion will run through Spinal Health Week.
That money goes to Spinal Research and to much needed research for chiropractic. The more research we are able to have done, then the more people will recognise chiropractic care as not an alternative but a proactive action for health. ”
It’s a win-win because the more we can promote it, the more money we can create for Spinal Research, and the more information we as CA’s have! It can be basic things. If a mum comes in tired because she’s been up all night with a restless baby. We can say “Did you know there’s research on that?” If we can communicate it well, then they can be more confident in what we offer and even become part of the tribe that spreads the word. We can start to counteract the negative effects of the media. Who cares if a journalist says she’d never take her child to be adjusted! Our people can know that there is research saying it’s safe, gentle and effective and can bring relief in certain scenarios .
“We as CA’s can pass this information on to the wider community in a way that is down-to-earth and free of medical jargon. Then the research that is getting done can get out there to the community.”
That is the power of a well-resourced CA, and that’s the reason that the C Triple A exists. Inspiring stuff indeed. Congratulations to Kate and the team from the C Triple A on putting their efforts behind a much needed association for CA’s, and an innovative fundraiser that engages kids in chiropractic clinics and enables us to continue supporting and delivering quality research. We can’t wait to see what this organisation achieves in the future.
Find out more on the Mr Bone Jangles fundraising campaign here.
 Staff (2015), “Chiropractic and Colic,” Haavik Research
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