As a second-generation chiropractor, Dr. Sherri Hays knew more about CUKC’s College of Chiropractic than nearly anyone she knew in her native Tulsa, Okla.
Her dad, Dr. Steve Hays (’77) enthusiastically recommended attending CUKC for chiropractic, yet he also encouraged his daughter to be the author of her own story. After graduating in 2011, Dr. Sherri Hays made the bold move to open a chiropractic practice in (wait for it) New York City. Still, the love of family is strong. When her dad faced a serious health challenge, Dr. Hays returned to Tulsa. While maintaining her father’s practice, she also launched her own Tulsa practice.
Q. You’re an Oklahoma native, came to Kansas City for chiropractic school, opened a practice in New York, then came back to Oklahoma. How did that cross-country trek happen?
A. My father always told me, “go where you want to live.” I followed his advice and moved to New York to open my practice. It was a challenge, and I have never regretted it for one second. When my father had heart surgery and was required to be away from his practice indefinitely, I accepted the opportunity to learn from stepping into his practice until he returned. This required me to move back to Tulsa. Each experience has felt like I am exactly where I need to be at the time.
Q. How was your practice in New York City received?
A. It was successful. And I would have stayed there even longer. My father had been practicing 30-plus years had a very well established practice in Tulsa. So, after the health challenge, I got a phone call to step into that practice until he was able to come back. After stepping in, I realized it was going be a lot better for me to sell the practice in New York and stay in Tulsa. So that’s what I did next.
Q. You’re a second-generation chiropractor. Was the chiropractic profession always in your future, or was it something that evolved into the “right fit?”
A. Being a chiropractor was always in my future — I just wish someone would have told me! I wanted to be a child psychologist, an attorney, study international business and spend my life traveling, etc. I had many different ideas for my future.
As soon as I sat in my first class at Cleveland, spinal anatomy, I realized that this was always my future. I am so grateful every day that I figured it out and went back to school.
Chiropractic was a second career for me. I worked in Dallas for Lincoln Property Company and did property management. I loved it, but I did not love that there was a glass ceiling.
That’s when I decided I wanted to be in a profession that was limitless. With the chiropractic profession, the possibilities for what you can do are endless.
Q. How did you know the CUKC College of Chiropractic was right for you? What was that decision process like?
A. Cleveland University-Kansas City is where my father and so many of my friends and family went to college. It always held a special place in my heart, but I knew it was right for me as soon as I toured the college. The location and campus are beautiful
Q. Sounds like a positive and supportive experience. What specifically impressed you?
A. For me, the faculty set the college apart. Every faculty member shaped me in ways they will never know. Not only did I learn how to be a great chiropractor, but I learned how to manage cases and to be fully confident in my diagnostic abilities.
They probably don’t even know how much of an effect they had on my career – there were so many times where I think back to a classroom setting, and I thought, “I’m probably never going to need this,” and then later I realized I needed it.
Going into NCBE boards, I felt ready. I wasn’t nervous. And getting out in practice, I also felt prepared and ready, like the college had given me everything I needed to succeed. I loved my time at CUKC, and it prepared me for my practice.
Q. What cases demonstrate how chiropractic meets today’s healthcare needs?
A. In my practice, we see everyone from day-of-birth newborns to terminal, end-of-life cancer patients. I know I am blessed to be part of a rewarding profession when a new mother can sleep because her baby is more comfortable…or when someone with a few months to live is able to pick up their grandkids. The benefits of chiropractic care go far beyond the musculoskeletal level.
Q. You have a busy practice in Tulsa, yet you mentor students and also like to speak to aspiring chiropractors. What’s the message you want to convey to them?
A. Students inspire me. I remember all of the emotions surrounding what it would be like to open a practice and to be responsible for the health of my patients. I like to empower and assure them that they are about to experience something beyond anything they could ever imagine!
We are part of a profession that gives back to us what we put in. We get to spend our days helping others, giving them their lives back. I could never keep that just for myself.
Q. What do you talk about with today’s chiropractic students?
A. When you’re in the thick of being a chiropractic student, you might think it’s the hardest time of your life. And it might very well be, but it’s so important to understand and realize that your future is so bright; it’s limitless. The advice I give to students is, “Stay strong, never give up. You’re going to have a great life.”
Chiropractic as a calling is a common thing that you hear with students and practitioners. I know people say that when they meet their spouse, or when they have their children. But when you find that career you’re supposed to be doing for the rest of your life; there’s nothing that compares to that feeling.
Watch the 3-minute interview with Dr. Sherri Hays below for more in her own words and follow #CUKCinsight on social media!
Ready for more? Catch Dr. Justin Grabouski’s #CUKCinsight feature here!