Never Ending Herbs

Last week I shared with you my HB Kim seminar class. This week I am going to tell you a little about what we do in the class. I mentioned that we attend 3 Single Herb classes, 2 Formula classes, and 6 seminar classes, which discuss topics from internal medicine and OB Gyn to dermatology. We utilize our knowledge of the basic classes to help formulate prescriptions for the case subjects of our senior classes. However, I have to say, nothing compares to the insane amount of material we go over in two weekends and then have to study. Insane is good, but hard. 

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Now, I don't want to scare you, but do want to give you the reality of the program. Mind you, we have reviewed all of the herbs and formulas before. However, the overwhelming factor kicks in after the fifth hour on Sunday when you have just gone over 199 herbs and have 50 more to go. Next week, we are reviewing 134 formulas in 15 hours. Each formula consists of many individual herbs as well as dosage, which we need to memorize. 

Elizabeth -herb -cards _webWe have a quiz next week, which I am studied for this past Memorial Weekend. The quiz will cover herb categories. This will probably be the easiest test we take in our herbal ventures. As students working in the clinic, we do use and see a lot of the same herbs over and over, but there are a few that escape your memory and those are the herbs and formulas we will study the most.

I plan on using my formula zoo cards to help me study for the formula portion. These cards were an investment, but definitely worth it if you are a visual learner like I am.  The cards contain funny pictures to help you remember the formulas' functions and properties (cooling, warming, bitter or acrid etc.). This trimester I definitely have my work cut out for me. It will be a challenging but a rewarding semester.

P.S. If you haven't checked out the school's new and improved website, go and explore!  See you next week.

Coming soon, I will update you on our graduates in China!

Oh, What a Trimester!

Oh, what a week it has been. Wednesday, I took the biomedicine portion of the board exam and what an exhausting day! The test was 100 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours and I took the whole time. I think that was because by the time I took the exam, I was so burned out from studying for it that my brain was moving at snail's pace. I studied materials that were specifically geared towards boards plus all of my class material - pathology, orthopedics, pharmacology, microbiology, CPR, clean needle technique, physiology, and other materials. 

Needless to say, I think every student walks out of boards saying, "Oh my gosh!" From what my friends that took the boards said, I definitely had different questions. I feel National gave me sufficient biomedicine classes plus everything from my bachelor's, and I felt I was ready to take the exam. However, after taking the exam, I would like to see more case studies being utilized in the classes. I am confident I passed the exam but without knowing for sure I am still a little uneasy. So wish me luck! 

No Time for Rest

This weekend I had my second HB Kim seminar. This seminar was focused on "Herbs and Formulas." The class is held over two weekends (Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 8-3) because HB Kim travels from Kentucky to teach it. I enjoy the class and the material but it is a lot of information to process in one weekend. 

Web _Elizabeth -seminar"Herbs and Formulas" seminar with HB Kim.

Dr. Kim provides excellent handouts and he presents in a way that engages all learning styles. He is a wealth of knowledge and he makes the class very enjoyable. He has studied extensively with many famous doctors and he has read and interpreted all the Classics of TCM. The students have all had three materia medicas, two herbal formula classes, and some senior seminar classes. We have learned all of the herbs and formulas, but seeing them again in a different format with a different teacher brings a different perspective. He also discusses things such as Dui Yao, or two herb combinations, that we are not formerly taught. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Kim and his classes. I think National is extremely lucky to have him. 

Welcome Back

Hello and welcome back to my blog! I had two weeks off to relax, of which I did little. 

Biomedicine Exam

I am taking my first board exam, the biomedicine part, on Wednesday. Much of the vacation I spent in coffee shops studying all of the past course material. The biomedicine part is only offered three-four times a year. Since this is a newer board, they are still making changes to it, and it is a paper exam as opposed to the other exams that are taken on the computer. 

The test has 100 questions and has a range of topics that might be included, such as CPR and HIPPA to blood chemistry, muscle skeletal, or pharmacology. The time allotted is one hour and a half to answer the 100 questions. From what I hear, I will be fingerprinted and videotaped while taking the exam. Sounds a little intimidating, but I am sure it will be fine. 

Other Boards

The other exams have modified questions based on how you answer the question. For instance, if you answer the question correctly, the next question will be a little more challenging. If the question was answered incorrectly, the next will be a little easier. Once you finish the computerized exams, you will be told if you have passed the exam. However, the biomed test results are mailed to you in 4-8 weeks.  

Study Help

I am also using TCM tests to study online for the exam. This website has many modules with thousands of questions to prepare you for any of the board exams. They also have daily free questions that can be sent to your email. If you are aspiring to a career in acupuncture or just testing the waters, you should check out their site. A good book that might also introduce you to TCM is The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted J. Kaptchuk.

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I would like to congratulate the recent graduates Ryan, Crystal, Iris, and Linda.  Good luck and much prosperity!

Summer Is in the Air

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This past weekend was so NICE! My husband and I were able to enjoy the weather strolling around Geneva before we buckled down to study. Yes, it's finals time already. Time flies when you're having fun. I have a few finals this week and the rest next week. But before I talk anymore about me I have a big secret...

National University of Health Sciences' Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program has been accredited by the NCCAOM!! Oh my gosh, I think I was the last to hear because apparently the word has been out for a while. All of our administrators' hard work paid off. We will be accredited until 2016 when NCCAOM will come to recheck all of the checkpoints.

NUHS has the opportunity to be the best AOM university in the U.S. We have the facilities to do much research, which unfortunately is lacking in our field. We have a few clinics, and most importantly we have a cadaver lab in which we are able to dissect a human body to experience where all of the muscles and organs are and how the needles can affect those structures. No other AOM university has that.

During break I will be studying for my first board test, the biomedicine portion. This exam is only offered 3-4 times a year so I have scheduled to take it in May. It won't be so bad because it will refresh everything I have learned from the last five years attending National. 

Also during break, my husband and I will be office shopping again because we have 5 more months until we graduate. It's exciting but scary at the same time.  

Elizabeth -Laura -oil

Laura is in the picture modeling the Po Sum oil many students use to do their bodywork, which includes guasha, tuina or cupping. There are many oils to choose from but usually one with a viscous texture factor is good. All of the mentioned modalities are good for treating sore muscles, colds, constipation, and much more.


This trimester has brought much change to the clinic environment. Most of the change is good and the rest just needs mending.

Previously, we saw three return patients a shift, with approximately an hour and 15 minutes for each patient. Currently, we have two shifts, one from 8 am to noon and the second from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. That also may be changing with the addition of students to the clinic shifts. There has been talk of schedule changes this whole trimester but they finally have been implemented.  

The new schedule

The new schedule allots an hour for a return patient and an hour and a half for a "new" patient (previously two and a half hours). The "new" patient visit lasts longer because a full exam and history must be done. An exam includes blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration and temperature, and it can include orthopedic and neurological exams. A chiropractic intern joins us to ask any additional questions and provide a western diagnosis for insurance and charting purposes. In Illinois, acupuncturists cannot diagnose a patient with a disease. The new patient also receives acupuncture and herbs, if necessary. So with the new schedule, this is all done in an hour and a half, an hour shorter than the previous time schedule.

A positive is the student is faced with a realistic time slot for future practice arrangements. For me personally, I think it will be a big challenge to get a full history and exam with the allotted time, especially with all the discussion that is involved with the clinicians that also takes time. Another positive to the new schedule is that it will eventually allow the intern to see four patients a shift. This will add ease to those that are behind on their numbers to graduate.  

Another change

The other change is the individual evaluations given daily by the clinicians. Each intern will be evaluated by his/her clinician daily with a weekly prognosis sent by email. I appreciate this because the intern can see their growth through their time as an intern.  It can also be a good tool for the student to ask questions on how to improve if their comments did not meet their expectations.

Currently, the process is in a transition because each clinic shift receives a letter grade that reflects our number score of the average of the evaluations. We as a student body are requesting that this change to a pass or fail system, so as it will not affect our grade point average. This is important to those that rely on scholarships to help fund their schooling. It is hoped that with time everything will fall into place.

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Dr. Hyundo Kim is pictured above. He is my Monday clinician as well a previous professor. Dr. Kim provides us with much knowledge of differential diagnosis as well as how to create great herbal formulas.