Archive for tag: career

Fine Farewell

Two weeks until graduation, but this will be my last blog. This past week has been crazy. I think I have spent every extra minute studying for my HB Kim herb test as well as my herb board. I will admit I am burned out. As much as I study, sometimes I feel as if it goes in one ear and out the other. This may be in part due to plans of my future business rolling around in the back of my mind or the valedictorian speech I need to write. It seems like every minute counts in these last few weeks.

As much as I feel I have studied for my herb test, in actuality I have yet to even conquer all the information. I have found that spending extra time in the herb room with the herbs and preparing formulas for the other interns has helped me remember the herbs better. I am a visual learner, so seeing the herbs over and over again actually helps me remember what they do. So, if you are thinking about studying herbs, the herb room may benefit you as well.

My fellow graduate has passed three of his board tests so I shouldn't be worried about taking them. National's classes really do prepare the student for the boards. The key to success, however, is to stay on top of your studies and don't wait until the last minute to cram. Cramming may allow you to pass the test, but when it comes to board or comp exams, it just won't cut it.


My fellow student Kim (pictured above) will be taking over the AOM blog (view Kim's blog). She transferred in from another TOM school and is sure to shed a new light of comparisons between schools. She comes with a lot of experience having worked with an acupuncturist in the field, and may share that with you, too. I had hopes of shadowing a few acupuncturists but unfortunately with my schedule I was not able to.

So my last word of advice is: If your schedule allows, try calling an acupuncturist in the area and asking if you may shadow them for a few days to experience how an actual practice runs. They have much information that may assist you in the future.

Well, it was my pleasure sharing my school experiences with you and I hope it has shed some light as to what it is like to be a student at National. In good health :)

Editor's Note: Congratulations, Elizabeth, on your achievement as the valedictorian of the Summer 2011 graduation class, and best wishes for an exciting and successful practice.

Out in the Field

As I promised last week, I was able to have lunch while interviewing a graduate of the Oriental Medicine Program. Margaret Thompson-Choi, you might remember, wrote this blog before me.  

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Margaret graduated in December 2009. After graduation, she spent 5 weeks in Korea continuing her OM education hands-on at a hospital. She visited Kyung Hee University in the months of January and February while staying with her in-laws. Margaret says the hospital specializes in Bell's Palsy, so she would feel very comfortable treating such patients in her office.

Kyung Hee University has 12 departments and students have the choice of touring one or all of the departments. Margaret spent 8 hours a day touring the university and was very impressed with the hospital. "It was similar to a Western hospital; they utilized all of the same equipment, such as MRI machines to help diagnose patients," she said, "and it was also very sanitary." 

Some of the interesting things she witnessed were the doctors doing manipulation to patients called Chuna, which she described as similar to chiropractic adjustments. The hospital also utilized pulse machines that were able to electronically print out the pulse diagnosis from a strap around the patient's wrist. The doctors also took high quality pictures of the patient's tongue. These were used in diagnoses but also to show improvement to the patient. Margaret also noticed that some doctors only practiced herbs. After writing a prescription for the patient, they would give it to the hospital's pharmacy. The pharmacy had big vats that they prepared and boiled the herbs in. They then put the individual dosages into little cartons that the patient could drink right away.   

Margaret really enjoyed her experience and recommends the university as shorter alternative to the year-long China trip. The trip would run around $2,000 plus lodging.  

Currently, Margaret is working at one location in Chicago and two locations in Naperville. At one of those locations, she is an independent contractor and is slowly building up her patient base. She currently sees one to seven patients a day but would be happy to see 8-12 a day. She also has the ability to recommend herbs if the patient chooses. 

She states, "There are jobs out there for acupuncturists, you just need to find them." She looked on craigslist, sent letters to chiropractors, and checked on NUHS's alumni site for job offerings. She also suggested joining a leads group in the town in which you would like to practice. The group meets weekly and exchanges business cards. She suggests working at two places maximum to build up a good clientele. When I asked her for her advice, she said, "Be prepared for set-backs." Things may take longer than anticipated such as getting your license and finding work. But it all works out.

I would like to thank Margaret for allowing me to interview her and for sharing her experiences with all of the future acupuncturists.

Business Shopping

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The much needed winter break has ended, and as always I still feel like I need another week - but then again who doesn't. Our winter breaks are usually three weeks long and spring and summer breaks last two weeks.

Office Environment

Three weeks was long enough for my husband and I to do some business shopping. We had the chance to visit an acupuncturist in Oak Park and a chiropractor. Each practitioner gave us different advice but all very helpful. The office atmospheres were completely different.

The acupuncture office was more exotic and peaceful but professional, which I really liked. I think when a patient walks in the door they should breathe a breath of relaxation, which I felt was accomplished in that office. The chiropractic office was very professional and big with lots of light. It was a typical medical office environment and in my opinion not very relaxing.

After listening to both practitioners, it seemed they tailored their environment to their patients' needs and expectations. For my husband and I, it gave us a big clue as to what kind of environment we should strive for.

Community Contacts

We also got a jump on the business ball by stopping into the local Chamber of Commerce, which offered us much help, as well as steered us in the direction of a reputable commercial real estate agent. Even though we are looking a little early, I think it shows our dedication and ambition as business owners to these individuals (who could possibly be future patients). We also interviewed an accountant who offered us loads of information free of charge. 

My advice to you, future students and possible business owners, is to check out all of your business opportunities way in advance of graduation. Talk to as many practitioners in the area in which you are thinking of practicing because they can each give you valuable information as well as warn you of any mistakes they have made. 

AOM Graduation

On another note, the Fall 2010 graduating class was the largest so far for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program. Cherlyn, one of our Oriental Medicine grads will be traveling to China in a month or so.  She will be attending the program set up by our Hui Yan Dr. Cai. Cherlyn will be teaching English to students in exchange for room and board as well as attending grand rounds in a University Hospital in Xi'an. We have had two graduates enter the program so far.  I plan to stay in touch with Cherlyn to give everyone details on her year-long trip.

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Stay tuned for upcoming weeks in which I will be sharing details of my lunch with a former graduate and the infertility seminar I just attended.

Happy New Year!