Ongoing pain from a car accident in the early 1990s led Jon Petrick to seek relief from a variety of doctors, but he experienced no positive results. He seemed destined to live with his discomfort. But everything changed when he saw Dr. James Adkins. A 1992 graduate of the College of Chiropractic at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), Adkins helped Petrick regain not only his health, but also his career focus.
Petrick was working in banking and was unhappy with his professional direction. He began to do some soul searching, and after a lengthy discussion with Adkins about a career in chiropractic, a light went off for Petrick. Four months later, he was sitting in a CUKC classroom starting the Doctor of Chiropractic degree program. He graduated in 1999, and now, more than 20 years into a chiropractic career that almost didn’t happen, Dr. Jon Petrick is right where he was meant to be.
Q: What time or event led you to a career in chiropractic?
A. I was in a car accident that left me with an upper cervical and a lumbar issue. I went to many different doctors and different types of doctors, and was not given a prognosis that I was willing to live with. A co-worker suggested I visit a chiropractor she had worked for previously. In a very short period of time after seeing him, I started noticing a lot of the physical problems that I was having started to go away, the headaches, the neck pain, to the point even the numbness and tingling I was experiencing in my right arm. All of that started to dissipate. And after I had success with his treatment, and I saw how much his patients loved and adored him…I just said, “That’s exactly what I want to do.”
Q. What reaction do you get from others when you share that you are a doctor of chiropractic? How has that reaction changed since you entered the profession?
A. We’re talking 20 years ago; we weren’t quite accepted by medicine. Now, it’s one of the first things that I lead with because most people have a chiropractor now, and most people have appreciated the benefits of chiropractic.
Q. When you think about your career, what keeps you motivated?
A. What motivates me the most is the success that I have with my patients – it’s the confidence after 20 years in practice. And that certainly is a blessing for me. I make people feel good all day long. I mean, I heal the sick and infirmed. We’re one of the few professions that still put our hands on people. And regardless of how you feel about things, whether it be energy or whatever you want to call it, there’s something special about being able to attach to another human being, and know that you’re rendering them relief from something that was really miserable.
Q. What has been the greatest challenge for you professionally, and how did you combat it?
A. The greatest challenge that I had being a practitioner originally, was starting a practice and understanding the concept of business and the processes that are associated with it. Solo practice can be a little bit daunting, even overwhelming. So that’s one of those things where you’ve just got to persevere. I didn’t really have a great business background, so I didn’t really understand a lot of the business terminology and the processes.
Q. Which of your attributes helped you get where you are professionally?
A. I possess a relentless pursuit of success and perfection. I pride myself on the work that I do and I think that I’m tireless in my search for the perfect treatment, and the perfect practice. I love what I do, but I’m always wanting to do better, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming.
Q. What are you most proud of in your career so far?
A. I’m most proud of my contribution to the community in which I live and serve. Being appreciated by the community is a comfortable spot to be in. It’s not just the success of the daily treatments, but it’s the history of the work that I’ve done. And now I get to see the benefits of that 20 years later where patients will say, “You fixed my son’s back, and now he’s in the NFL.” We had a lady in just last week, who said, “Thanks to you, Dr. Petrick, my son’s playing for the Canadian Football League.” And he was told he would never play. I’m most appreciative of my education as well. I’m very, very proud of the education that I got at Cleveland. And 20 years later, I’m probably more proud of my education now, than I was back then.
Q. Why is it meaningful for a practitioner to have a strong presence in the community?
A. When you accept that you’ve chosen service as your life’s mission and passion, it’s all easy after that. I serve every day willingly and passionately with the intent to heal and help. So, being able to serve with love and passion is going to be successful. Most of the chiropractors I know and appreciate have that same sense of service to their community, and if you’ll commit to the community in which you serve, you’ll find peace there.
Q. You graduated 20 years ago, how have you changed in that time?
A. One of the great things about Cleveland was that I served in kind of an externship program they had in Kansas City. It was with a gentleman that truly had that straight and narrow chiropractic philosophy that I didn’t quite have at the time, but that I’ve grown to love and appreciate. So, for me, 20 years in practice and I’m still learning today. I’ve had patients where there was just a new understanding of the skill set, and the knowledge behind it. But I can honestly say, I don’t have too many bad days being a chiropractor. I think I love it just as much today as I did in 1999 when I graduated.
Q. What key qualities or abilities should a person possess if they are considering a career as a doctor of chiropractic?
A. First and foremost, to realize there’s a lot of responsibility…that’s not something you should ever take lightly. You’ve got to meet the responsibilities of professionalism. You’ve also got to check your ego, never be afraid to admit you’re wrong, and want to learn to do better. I finish every day with…“What did I do right today? What did I do wrong today? And what am I going to work on?” And I think if you will constantly push yourself to be a better human being, and a better physician every day, you will be successful.
Watch the 4-minute interview with Dr. Jon Petrick below for more in his own words, and follow #CUKCinsight on social media!