A Decision Made

Hi again everyone!

As old man winter maintains his grip on Chicagoland, I have made my final determination on whether to continue with an additional degree, and, if so, what degree would best suit my future practice. The decision was between completing a doctor of chiropractic degree or a master's in acupuncture degree. I decided that based upon my future practice, what I wish to accomplish with my patients in my office and my own personal interests, to pursue the master's degree in acupuncture.

I think the NUHS website best states what acupuncture is all about...

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique that is over 3,000 years old. It is based on the insertion of thin, sterile needles into strategic points on the body that lie along specific energy meridian pathways.

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Acupuncture Philosophy

Acupuncture is one of the five main branches of oriental medicine. The goal of acupuncture is to promote healing through rebalancing the patient's Qi (or chi) energy. When the Qi is weak, excessive or blocked, it can cause illness and disease. 

Acupuncture Treatments

An acupuncturist may stimulate acupuncture points and meridians using needles, or employ electronic stimulation, magnets or lasers to acupuncture points for enhanced healing. Other meridian and point therapies may include acupressure, the application of heat through moxibustion, drawing out energy through cupping, and a specialized massage system called "tuina." 

Acupuncture Careers

An increasing number of hospitals and integrative care centers are employing acupuncturists for both medical treatment and wellness programs. Acupuncturists may also start their own practice, or work in pain management clinics, fertility clinics, and weight loss or addiction treatment centers. Even cosmetic and spa facilities are now offering acupuncture for clients to relieve stress and combat the effects of aging.

Finally, the master's degree in acupuncture is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is recognized in most of the 50 states (6 states have no licensing act for acupuncture and California has its own exam process).

This is an exciting turn in my fledgling career as a caregiver!  My intent is to utilize acupuncture where and when appropriate for my patients' overall well-being. In other words, another tool in my toolbox to help others return to a basis for health.

Healthy Lombard Fair

This was an exciting weekend for the NUHS Whole Health Center! Naturopathic interns participated in the annual Healthy Lombard Fair held at the Yorktown Center mall as representatives for NUHS and the NUHS Whole Health Center.

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The Healthy Lombard Fair is a gathering of health-oriented organizations within the Lombard area. Health centers, universities, exercise groups, and health-oriented businesses gather in one spot to promote healthy living. One could find care and strategies, suggestions and ideas for a healthy lifestyle ranging from prenatal.

We naturopathic interns from NUHS represented our school and all programs provided by the NUHS Whole Health Center thoroughly and had a great time while we were at it. We discussed our wide range of services available at the clinic such as...

  • Naturopathic Care
  • Chiropractic Care
  • PTSD Clinic for returning veterans from overseas
  • Acupuncture
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Massage Therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Detoxification Programs
  • Weight Loss Clinic

Finally, a new local cable access program supporting healthy living in Lombard asked each of us to give a healthy tip of the day for the local program. So, each of us (Kish, Heather, Jerrica, and yours truly) took a turn in front of the camera to give a daily healthy guideline for the show's viewers.

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The Healthy Lombard Fair was a great way for our interns to gain practice and exposure with the general public to speak about naturopathic medicine (or as I like to say 'conservative primary care') and generate some positive publicity for our clinic here at the school. 

Until next week, stay warm and look for spring coming around the corner!

The Grind in Mid Trimester

Well, we are at that time of the trimester where the days seem to drag a bit and we are concerned either with midterms or double-checking our competencies, skills assessments and total numbers for graduation.

Each intern is either busy seeing patients, busy scheduling patients or busy with practicing competencies, discussing treatment strategies, and assessing each other prior to sitting with a clinician for assessment.

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As I write this, I see my colleagues discussing botanicals protocols for estrogen balance in a post-menopausal female, as well as the proper settings for immersed ultrasound therapy for a wrist strain/sprain.

As far as my competencies and numbers are concerned, I'm closing in on my primary visits as the primary intern, pretty much have my competencies covered except for a couple of items, and am ready to start my assessment discussions.

That being said, time to get back to the grindstone, finish up charting my last two patients, and hopefully end clinic on time tonight.

Until next week, keep your nose to the grindstone and we will visit again soon!

Clinic Teamwork

This past week has seen some of the greatest teamwork I have witnessed since beginning clinic observation over a week ago.

Sometimes when working as an intern at the NUHS Whole Health Center one can feel a bit 'behind the eight ball.' Seemingly running from patient to patient, keeping the cases and patient presentation in mind, completing and filing paperwork, correcting paperwork, retrieving and returning needed supplies for each patient visit is a challenge, all while ensuring that our patients have our undivided attention and best possible care to attain the most favorable outcome.

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During these times, as naturopathic interns, we feel that we can accomplish everything, don't really need anyone and can never 'miss a beat.' Well, I'm here to tell you that great teammates mean everything! There's the teammate, a secondary on a patient visit, who goes the extra mile by staying late to help with getting lab samples centrifuged, plasma gathered and shipped overnight to the lab for processing ensuring the patient will have their results in a timely manner. There are the teammates who flawlessly fill in for an intern with a patient who needs regular treatment, help the patient on their healing process, and give the patient a strong sense of continuity of care. Finally, there is the teammate who can step in at a moment's notice with a patient who needs expert procedural care or a quite challenging venipuncture and can hit the bullseye with excellent bedside manner, giving the patient confidence in the care we provide. 

Part of the joy of attending in the NUHS Whole Health Center is precisely the teamwork shared by the naturopathic interns here. At any moment, we could be the primary intern on a case, the secondary, or called in to help with a skill that we have mastered. We all recognize each other's strengths and call on each other, without ego interfering, when we need the help. This is my idea of being a doctor, healer, and caregiver. This is how I envision my future clinic running. This is the type of intern/doctor that I am proud to share my education with here at NUHS and in the future as colleagues.

Much thanks to all of my colleagues here at NUHS for your knowledge sharing, cooperation and guidance. I am fortunate to have spent some time with you here at NUHS and feel secure in the future of our medicine with you in practice and caring for our fellow humans!

Winter, Winter, and More Winter

Winter continues here at NUHS in the Chicago suburbs. While not a normal winter for the Chicagoland area, the snow has been beautiful in its ubiquitous falling, blanketing and build-up!

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Clinic has chugged along through the weather, low temps and snow squalls. Our interns and clinicians have battled through the snarled traffic, snowdrifts and partially successful attempts to start their vehicles to maintain the excellent level of care that the NUHS naturopathic clinic provides!

On days that are not as busy because of the weather, those of us who are in tenth trimester clinic are going through our portfolios and check-off sheets to ensure that we have met our requirements for graduation. When possible, we sit with a clinician and speak of various ailments, maladies and injuries followed by the appropriate triage, treatment and healing strategies for a patient with that illness.

The portfolio includes everything from prenatal care to geriatrics and all stages of life, health and illness in between. Combined with our patient variety, over 450 or more total unique visits and rotations with the Salvation Army clinic in Chicago, the Naperville clinic and homeopathic rotations, we are well prepared as we sit down to discuss these patient conditions and how we would treat them.

So, even though winter is keeping most of us indoors for the next few days, we are quite busy with our clinic duties and fulfilling clinic requirements...well, except for the occasional midnight stroll through a nice little snowstorm! 

Until next week, keep warm and talk to you then!