I went to school for one career, but in that very institution, I found another. A valuable part of my chiropractic education was a specialty that many overlook or simply don’t expect. Part of my chiropractic education at Life Chiropractic College included electrodiagnostic proficiency training. During that training, there was discussion about the utilization of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) during surgery. It was not just the vast potential of the technology and service that interested me, it was also the fact that Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) could play a vital role in the field of IONM due to their previous medical experience and advanced capabilities. Some chiropractors had even taken that skillset and later started their own IONM businesses.
After I embarked on my professional career as a DC, I was reintroduced to the field of electrodiagnostic medicine and entered an 18-month long program in Pennsylvania with other MDs, PTs, and other New York state DCs. This program awakened my interest in the fields of electrophysiology and the contributions I could make to patients.
With my previous high-level training, experience, and success in the diagnostic electromyography (EMG) field—I had become an electrodiagnostic contributor at the NY State Chiropractic Association—and my passion for electrophysiology as a whole fueled my interest in the prospects of an IONM business. I also felt that I had the business skills to run and grow a healthcare practice in the future, having already started and successfully grown a chiropractic practice.
I’m a fairly analytical and cautious person and while I understood the medical benefits of IONM very well, I wanted to research the future of IONM from a business standpoint. My research solidified my decision to make the move into IONM. In particular, I learned that IONM is a fast-growing industry, that more and more surgeons are insisting that IONM be part of their surgical procedures and, that hospitals see the benefit of having an extra layer of patient safety.
I have recently served in a management role for an IONM company as a Director of Clinical Competency and Proficiency and I have absolutely no regrets. Everything that I expected to gain from my transition has been fulfilled. I particularly enjoy the challenges of working in an OR setting. While surgeries may have the same name, as a surgical neurophysiologist, I must thoughtfully apply knowledge of each patient’s unique, comprehensive health history and the type of surgery being performed, while also taking into consideration anesthesia’s effects on signals and the surgeon’s preferences for neuromonitoring. The surgical team is a complex array of individuals, but the goal is always to make certain the patient wakes up safely and able to function normally. I consider it a privilege to be a valued member of that team.
Nestor Nicolaides, DC, CNIM
Director of Clinical Competency and Compliance