Hello, Everyone!

Hello and welcome to the fall trimester and my first post as the new AOM student blogger! I have some big shoes to fill in succeeding Juli Yelnick, who has graduated and moved on to begin her life as a licensed acupuncturist (Congratulations, Juli!). 

If you read my bio, you'll know that I transferred to National this past spring from another oriental medicine program and studied at several other schools. For prospective students, it can be hard to get an idea of what a program will be like just by visiting a school and browsing its website. With relatively limited online information on oriental medicine programs, I think National's student blogs do a great job at giving prospective students an ongoing view of what the student experience is like.

That being said, there are cool new things going on this trimester that I have to be excited about and would like to share on the blog. I have classes in my favorite subjects -- herbal medicine, OM nutrition, and Microsystems (surprisingly, I'm even digging my Imaging Diagnosis class), as well as a weekend class by the esteemed H. B. Kim, author of several books, most notably, the Handbook of Oriental Medicine. But starting my first clinic shift as an associate intern and needling patients is the newest and biggest event of my academic career, yet. I finally get to needle patients!

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Despite my exclamatory statement there was (and still is) some underlying apprehension towards sticking needles in patients. As much as I like acupuncture, I really don't (yet) enjoy needling people, and I've had anxiety about it since I started my studies years ago. I love herbs and nutrition and I would be content just studying and applying those modalities along with massage and Qi Gong. But I know that the needles work and that's what our patients know and want... so needle I must.

Luckily, my first clinic shift as an intern this week was with the wonderful Sarah Boysen, a 9th trimester senior intern with a calm, collected presence and great needling skills. (Sarah also serves as co-president of NUHS' AOM Student Association). Wonderful Sarah introduced me to the clinic procedures and paperwork and was gracious enough to allow me to assist in needling one of her patients. Before doing so, to calm my nerves and shaky hands I tried to remember to do the things that help me to stay in the moment and focused on the patient -- to take deep breaths, ground myself and remember that I'm a student and I'm here to learn and help others.

The treatment went smoothly and helped me to ease slowly into what I'll be practicing a lot in the near future. (I expect to love and appreciate the needles a lot more by the end of this trimester). Kudos to Sarah and our Clinician Eric Baker and the other student observers and interns who got me excited to start applying what I've learned!