I admit that I'm starting to reminisce already about my time
here at NUHS. Here are just a few of my thoughts this week as
things start to wind down and rev up for the next part of this
As each of the 10th trimester Interns complete their patient
numbers and competencies, transition their patients to the Interns
advancing from observation to the main clinic, and prepare for the
next step beyond graduation (whether joining or opening a practice,
continuing with another license or starting a family), I believe
each one has taken the first step on a journey of helping others
with minimally invasive therapies to become healthier.
Spring 2014 will see 11 new doctors of naturopathic medicine
graduate from NUHS. These doctors will be prepared to help those
with chronic illness determine the underlying cause of their
disease, and where possible with the therapies that we are taught
to utilize and our rigorous training on the human body and its
functions, work together as teammates to return our patients to
their basis for health.
This is a bittersweet time for many of us. Those of us who have
developed close friendships over the past 4-5 years and fostered a
sense of teamwork, cooperation, learning, teaching and
accomplishment will be stepping out on our own. We will be making
our way in the world as healer, educator, family, friend and human
being. While we will be making our singular way, we know that we
will have the support of our colleagues, loved ones and our
Ultimately, the support of our patients is the driving force
that allows us (motivates us) to take the next leap as we begin our
journey in a profession with a scope that currently exists in only
18 states and territories along with the District of Columbia in
the United States. This is both an exciting and scary time for
many, especially the younger new docs who are stepping out into the
working world for the first time. I continue to encourage my
colleagues with the notion that they are very well educated, well
trained new naturopathic doctors who are going to make a positive,
healing impact upon their patients' lives. As long as that is their
motivation and they manage their practice wisely, they will be
rewarded with a full practice as word of their expertise
Until next week, most likely with a bit more reminiscing, enjoy
the spring season and renewal of the sun's warmth!
Well, here we 10th Trimester Interns sit working on our final
'check-offs', competency skill evaluations, and patient
Between the patient visits, acting as mentors for our rising
classmates, completing outreach hours for the clinic, sitting and
discussing conditions with our clinicians, preparing our grand
rounds presentations, and double checking charting and paperwork,
we don't have much time for anything else.
For some reason, I thought this part of the internship
experience would be a time to sit back, relax and enjoy the
clinical experience. I suppose I was pretty far off target on this
notion. I am thoroughly enjoying myself however. The clinicians
have given the 10th Trimester Interns a bit more autonomy with the
diagnoses, treatment plans and conversations with our patients. We
are now expected to train our underclassmen in clinic protocol,
procedures and patient interaction. This is an exciting time!
The clinic is hopping today and is chock full of naturopathic
patients! What a great problem to have in our little clinic! The
word seems to be getting out about the services, therapies and
treatments available at the NUHS Whole Health Center.
As the weather changes, the temps rise and spring arrives here
in Chicagoland, the NUHS Whole Health Center, the naturopathic
medical school and our students are rising to the occasion, growing
and sharing our knowledge, skills and healing therapies with our
neighbors in greater numbers!
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!
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
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
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!
One of the many skills that we develop while here at NUHS, and
perhaps one of the more important, is taking an assessment of a
patient's typical diet. Once we have a good diet recall or diary
from a patient, we can determine the benefits and drawbacks of the
patient's diet, the impact (for better or worse) upon the patient's
health, and then we can make modifications as necessary to help the
patient return to a basis for health.
Intern Heather Bautista taking a dietary assessment from
Intern Jerrica Sweetnich.
We start by getting a log of a patient's typical weekday and
weekend diets as many people eat differently on the weekends than
they do during the workweek. After a review of the diet with the
patient, we consult with our clinicians regarding the patient's
chief complaint, review of systems, health stressors, and treatment
plan. Part of the treatment plan involves modifications in a
patient's diet and may include the following:
...just to name a few.
Dietary modifications are a key tool to help our patients return
to a basis for health. Our health begins with the nutrients we
provide our bodies for building strong muscle, bone, nervous
tissue, and preventing or fighting infection.
With that said, I'll grab a healthy bite to eat and make my way
to clinic for the afternoon shift. This evening its time to carve
pumpkins by the fire pit and make ready for Halloween!
Time to settle into the weekly routine again, albeit things are
a bit different this trimester. With class and clinic rotations 5
days each week, along with work on the side during some mornings
and each weekend, time is a precious commodity.
This is what a typical clinic schedule looks like for a 9th/10th
trimester ND Intern.
During clinic, we sit down for "preview" each day to discuss
upcoming patient cases and strategies for best helping our patients
in a roundtable discussion. This is a "safe zone" to bounce ideas,
debate the best strategy amongst peers and under the guidance of
our clinicians. The idea is to share knowledge through discussion
in a practical manner without judgment. This approach allows us to
discuss all treatment modalities, their benefits, drawbacks and
limitations, then move forward with the best overall treatment for
After preview, we see our patients, chart, research, develop and
bring our suggested treatment plans to our clinicians, who vet the
plans and approve or amend as required for the benefit of our
patients. We must complete all of these tasks during our shifts as
HIPPA regulations dictate that no patient records leave the
premises. We learn quickly to be accurate, concise and have all
work completed by the end of the day out of necessity.
Even though this seems like a lot of work, clinic is a fun,
nurturing environment that I look forward to every day. The smiles
on patients' faces when they begin to feel better, heal and share
is priceless! The patience, knowledge, skill and care that our
clinicians share with each intern on a daily basis set an excellent
example for all of us as future doctors.
Me with Carrie (left) and Juanita (right), both 6th trimester
The photo I'm sharing this week is of two friends and me. I was
printing something at the library the other day and ran into them
after having not seen either for about two months! This made me
realize that I was separated from the rest of campus now that I'm
in clinic and needed to visit my old friends still in their
clinical courses. Challenge accepted...
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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