There has been a recent trend, particularly in social media, of chiropractors who completed an Australian chiropractic qualification using the post nominals D.C.. Often the chiropractor using this will also use the courtesy title Dr but fail to qualify that title with ‘Chiropractor’ after their name. Perhaps these chiropractors think that using D.C. is adequate. It is not adequate. Using qualifications or memberships may be useful in providing the public with information about education or experience and help them make informed decisions about accessing chiropractic services. However, whilst chiropractors understand that ‘D.C.’ stands for ‘Doctor of Chiropractic’ it is not widely understood in the general community. Furthermore ‘D.C.’ specifically refers to a degree and is not shorthand for Doctor of Chiropractic more broadly. When referring to Australian qualifications leading to registration as a chiropractor, such as the Bachelor of Chiropractic Science / Master of Chiropractic from Macquarie University or the Bachelor of Health Science / Bachelor of Applied Science (Chiropractic) from RMIT, the correct postnominals should be used.
For example, a Macquarie University trained chiropractor may use:
Dr John Smith BChiroSc MChiro
For example, a RMIT trained chiropractor may use:
Dr John Smith BHealthSc, BAppSc (Chiropractic)
In both of the above cases ‘Dr John Smith D.C.’ is incorrect and misleading.
If the chiropractor holds a D.C. degree (generally North American and Canadian degrees), the following would be appropriate:
Dr John Smith D.C.
The Australian health regulatory system protects titles so that only those people registered in a particular profession can use the titles associated with that profession. Only a registered chiropractor may use the title ‘chiropractor’. Registered practitioners from any health profession are prohibited from claiming to be registered in a division of a health profession if they are not, or from claiming to be qualified to hold an endorsement that they do not hold. A physiotherapist utilising manipulative procedures, but who is not a registered chiropractor, should not advertise that they are a chiropractor or that they provide ‘chiropractic treatment’. Similarly, several chiropractors and physiotherapists who provide ‘dry needling’ have fallen foul of the rules when they have advertised themselves to be an ‘acupuncturist’ as ‘acupuncturist’ is a protected title.