This past week has been an expansion of my efforts I listed for
you in my blog.
As an example, I just completed a presentation for my Advanced
Botanical Prescribing class to be presented next week. The
presentation is a review of the cardiovascular drug, digoxin, along
with referenced studies of botanical interactions on the efficacy
of digoxin's function in the human body. I chose to focus on three
botanicals. These are Hypericum perforatum or St. John's Wort,
Withania somnifera or Ashwagandha, and Crataegus oxycantha or
Hawthorne. The interactions between digoxin and these botanicals
were surprising and warrant further study. I'm sure my classmates
will be interested in the findings I present next week.
Many people take botanical supplements alongside their
pharmaceutical prescription drugs with the notion that botanicals
are all natural, not chemically derived, so they must be inherently
safe. What most don't realize is that botanicals have chemical
constituents that impact the human body and can interact with
pharmaceutical drugs by either increasing or decreasing the drug's
effect, to keep things simple for our purposes here.
Pharmaceuticals are prescribed for specific reasons and should
never be tampered with by altering the prescription or adding
supplements unless under the direction of a licensed provider. This
goes for the patient, friends, family, or those who wish to help
yet may not understand the impact of what appears to be friendly
With the exception of the myriad reports, presentations,
reviews, quizzes, and exams that are typical of eighth trimester,
my week has consisted of work, and a short break to the theatre to
see a movie. While things are a bit tedious right now, I'm certain
once this trimester is completed and "in the books" so to speak,
I'll be able to get out and about and let you guys know a bit about
the area this spring and summer! I can't wait for some nice warm
spring days to get to the lake and enjoy the scenery!
Until next week may your springtime arrive and the birds wake
you with song!
As I started eighth trimester here at NUHS, my fellow students
who had just completed eighth would pat those of us on the shoulder
beginning this course load with empathy (or was it sympathy?) and
mumble a few words of encouragement. Well, after completing
midterms week and surviving (albeit with a few bumps and bruises),
I felt pretty good and as though I had accomplished traversing
exactly half of eighth trimester! Only 6 more weeks to go from here
and it's all downhill right? Nope!
I found that the work had only really started. I generally am
pretty happy with my organizational skills. I tend to fill my
schedule's deadlines at the start of each trimester and check in
from week to week so I know what class to concentrate my efforts
toward to maximize time. In other words, I'm not a procrastinator
and that has helped with completing various tasks I need to
successfully navigate the naturopathic medicine program's workload.
This trimester is different however.
Here's a breakdown of upcoming projects, papers, presentations
that are due over the coming weeks (not counting finals week). So,
over the next three weeks I have the following work to complete for
each listed class:
Doctor Patient Relationship
Advanced Botanical Prescribing
Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine
This list doesn't count Dermatology and Special Populations
classes with their content and workload! This may seem like a lot
of work with the addition of time in class, quizzes (both in class
and online), cases assigned as well as work. Yet, at the same time,
having been in the working world with multiple project deadlines,
these fixed concrete dates allow me to plan and take care of the
work that needs to be done, even if time does seem to contract as
deadlines approach. This is absolutely the busiest, most task
filled, time constrictive trimester I have had here at National,
especially with the new work hours. At the same time, the classes
are engaging, challenging and building upon previous concepts so
the work doesn't seem as tedious and making progress is an
No food pics this week. I'll do my best to whip up a new
recipe or rehash something into an appetizing tidbit.
Here's a pic of the campus during the transition to spring! Just
a little snow left on the ground in mid-March with warmer weather
on its way! Hoping for an easy transition this year and many
outdoor adventures in April!
Until next week, may your deadlines be extended and you have
plenty of time to do the best work ever seen!
While shopping at a "big box" retailer this week for some items
I needed around the house, I was presented with a situation that,
while not shocking given the volume of customers for that business,
gave me a good reason to think about the type of practice I want
and another point on why I chose to practice naturopathic medicine.
Keep in mind that while the first part of the story may sound a bit
like I'm griping, I'm sharing this incident to reinforce why I am
choosing to become a naturopathic doctor. :)
The store was huge and packed with weekend shoppers, like me,
who wanted to get errands completed and back home as quickly as
possible. I was at the checkout and an item was mispriced. The
clerk called for the mislabeled item's department over the store
intercom for a price check. No answer came from the department, so
the clerk asked someone else at the front counter to make a quick
run and check the price.
The clerk then turned to me and asked me politely to step aside
for the next customer to be checked out. While I was reluctant to
move, I understood that others simply wanted to get their errands
finished so they could relax at home. So, I moved out of the way
for the next three customers to pay for their items as the
mispriced item was researched. Once the price was corrected, the
clerk asked me for my payment; I paid, and was given a cursory
"thank you" while being handed the bag full of merchandise.
The most shocking thing to me during this experience was no
apology for the mispriced item, and no apology or explanation for
asking me to step aside for the error on the part of the store. I
was simply another body in the line and my mispriced item was
preventing the line's movement. The store needed to keep the line
moving. This is done by tracking the number of customers per hour
that the clerks bring through their line. If a clerk doesn't have
"x" number of customers per hour, then they are retrained,
reprimanded or disciplined until they lose a sense of customer
service and concentrate more on "keeping the line moving."
As I processed this experience, this made me remember one of the
reasons I chose naturopathic medicine. I am becoming an ND because
each patient is an individual and not a number or statistic, nor
one of six patients I need to see each hour to satisfy numbers for
an insurance or reimbursement program. I am choosing to learn this
trade, this profession, this practice, so that I can get to know my
patients along with their pathologies, motivations, compliances,
and best path to a healthier life where at all possible.
Since I cannot predict the future, I don't know exactly how I
will practice. I will do my best to stay away from a high volume
practice model. I know that any business needs a break-even point
and profitability to keep the doors open. I am certain that I can
build a practice schedule that will allow time with my patients up
front to get to know them along with shorter duration follow-up
appointments. As we progress together on the healing path, our
meetings, if all goes well, will become more economical with time
length. We can accomplish all we need and plan our next steps until
the day comes when as many of our patients as possible will be able
to exit our practice as healthier individuals and not as
Here's my whole food pic for the week. This is wild caught Ahi
Tuna marinated in lemon juice and capers. The sides are my roasted
root veggies from last week (carrots, parsnips, beets…all organic)
along with steamed organic baby spinach.
Doc Rosco's Lemon Juice and Caper Wild Caught Ahi
Midterm week(s) is the time of the trimester devoid of
reflection. Midterms is the time to hunker down, rehash covered
concepts, make sure the latest lectures are covered, and the first
round of papers have been completed and turned in either
electronically or as hard copies.
This past week or so has consisted of a combination of study,
online quizzes, classroom quizzes, papers and now...midterms! That
being said, this week's entry will be a bit abbreviated as I have
just finished a paper on the style of practice I plan to exercise
with my patients, and whether that style is informative,
collaborative, deliberative, or paternalistic. Once I have turned
that paper in electronically (very convenient), I will complete my
"mop up" studying for a dermatology midterm tomorrow.
I define mop up studying as covering the concepts that I don't
have a firm grasp upon as an exam approaches. While I study for
exams, as I feel I have mastered a topic or concept, I move away
from that concept and take on another topic. While I review as exam
day approaches, I take the concepts that I'm not as comfortable
with and spend a bit more time with them to help reinforce any
"weak spots" in my learning for that exam. Takes a little more
preparation ahead of time, yet I can spread out my study and not
feel as compelled to cram for exams.
Once I complete the final study for Dermatology, I will move to
Advanced Botanical Prescribing and study the botanicals suited for
the respiratory tract in preparation for that midterm later this
week. This is a busy time over the next couple of weeks and at the
same time, whether from three years of practice at this point, the
joining of the concepts and improvement in efficiency, or pure
enjoyment of my classes, studying just doesn't seem like the chore
it was back in the fall of 2010. The light is at the end of the
tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it's not a train.
next week, I'll leave you with a handy and easy recipe for making a
nice root veggie side dish for the week. This dish provides plenty
of carotenoids, minerals and fiber! Root Veggie Guy gives it the
Roasted Root Veggies
Makes about 5 servings (enough for lunch Mon-Fri).
This week I started a new part-time job as part of my plan to
save a bit of money prior to graduation. I will be working about
15-20 hours per week at a local health food store. This part of my
plan will allow me to continue my courses right now, complete all
class work, then in a few months, complete my studies in student
clinic and main clinic here at NUHS.
This job is well suited in that the store is within walking
distance of both campus and my apartment, so I can save on fuel
expenses. The working hours are flexible to accommodate my class
schedule as it changes from trimester to trimester and a few of my
fellow students currently work in the store. Another benefit is
that working in a health food store assists with keeping my mind
sharp on the nutrients in certain foods, understanding customers'
requests when they describe a specific supplement, mineral or
nutritive product they need based upon a physiological
The reality of graduating from medical school encompasses the
costs of moving, setting up shop or joining a practice as well as
being able to "pay the bills" after graduation. The months after
graduation and prior to sitting for NPLEX II (or the second round
of national board exams) can be quite lean, based upon the
experiences shared with me from recent grads. I am taking action
now to help alleviate the challenge of those first few months after
A little "whole foods diet" update for this week for you. The
new way of eating is going well with a couple of hiccups. I fudged
and had some chocolate-covered peanuts (I know! Milk chocolate with
perhaps the most inflammatory food...peanuts!). At the same time, I
have been enjoying some incredible smoothies with a good friend as
well as making "lettuce wraps" out of everything from chicken to
squash with butter lettuce leaves. Here's a quick pic of my simple
organic chicken lettuce wraps with some hot sauce on the leaves (in
other words, whatever I have in the cupboard or fridge gets thrown
in a pan or the oven and added to the lettuce leaves to make a
lettuce wrap, hehe). Nice!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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