Why qualifications matter to patients
Penny Bance, Director of Development, explores the importance of professional qualifications in maintaining patient trust
Chiropractic is a trusted profession. Our recent public perceptions research (February 2021) found that 81% of respondents agree that chiropractic is an area of healthcare that they trust. This is undoubtedly a very positive and welcome finding.
For this trust to be developed and sustained, it is important that all chiropractic professionals deliver the best patient care and uphold the reputation of the profession. They must maintain the highest standards of professional conduct, which, as outlined in the Code, include being properly qualified, registered and insured.
Growing awareness of professional qualifications
Professional qualifications are important to the standards and credibility of the profession, but they matter to the public too. One of the key findings in the public perceptions research is the importance of qualifications to people when visiting a chiropractor. Before embarking on treatment, people want to know that their chiropractor has a recognised qualification.
There is growing public awareness that chiropractors must be qualified to treat patients. Since 2004, there has been an 11% increase in awareness of qualifications requirements in the chiropractic profession. In addition, more than half of the people who took part in the research know that it is illegal for chiropractors to use the term without being professionally qualified.
Improved public understanding of the qualifications required to treat patients gives the profession greater credibility but also highlights the importance of being open and transparent about a chiropractor’s qualifications.
Highlighting professional qualifications in all patient communication is one way that chiropractors can help to build trust and provide a level of reassurance to patients who are considering treatment.
Use of the term ‘doctor’
There is less awareness around the use of the term ‘doctor’ with many people unaware whether chiropractors are allowed to use the term. However, less than a quarter of people agree with chiropractors using the term. The CAP guidance on this issue is clear. Chiropractors who wish to use the courtesy title in their advertising should take care not to imply that they hold a general medical qualification if they do not. Failure to do so risks eroding the public trust that the profession has worked so hard to achieve.
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