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One-third of the Way There and Counting

by Jun 7, 2019

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » One-third of the Way There and Counting

Week five is when many students are starting to take their first exams of the trimester, an early assessment to see how we are doing academically. At the end of last week, I felt very satisfied with how this trimester has been progressing. On top of my regular classes…nine to be exact…my greatest satisfaction has been in the clinic.


At National, students in the DC, ND and AOM programs have the chance to do clinic rotations in the campus Whole Health Center. It’s a learning laboratory where clients are aware that student interns are treating patients under licensed clinicians. I have currently taken on four clinic shifts. Each shift is four hours, and each hour provides one slot for one patient. So far in my first-trimester of needling, I have received nothing but positive feedback. I have patients coming into the clinic with combinations of concerns. Some limp alongside me as we walk to the treatment room, some are still wearing sunglasses with their eyes barely open when checking in, presenting a pale complexion during intake, or at times, crying or visibly stressed. 

As my patients leave my treatment room, everything has changed in a positive way. They leave with a better step; at times my younger patients are running or skipping out of the room down the hall! One who came in walking with a limp left with confidence and minimal pain. Those with sunglasses on, a pale complexion, who were tired looking or stressed were walking and speaking with an energetic voice and a better pallor.

But even more so, as I look into their eyes, there’s a sense of hope that was not there before. I really am not trying to toot my own horn, but I have had positive feedback and seen the difference I have made with my group of patients. As I have communicated with many people throughout my life, I have said the same thing: “I appreciate the positive feedback, but I also would appreciate any negative feedback or advice.” Why do I keep that open? Because it allows me to be a better practitioner.

Everything in life is not always sunshine and rainbows, but we all need to realize that behind the clouds, the sun is always shining. This past weekend was our clean needling technique (CNT) course. It’s necessary to pass this course in order for us to sit for our boards once we finish the MSAc or MSOM program. Not only were there National students, but I got a chance to sit and speak with a few who came from other acupuncture schools, some traveling from as far as from Michigan, and Ohio but even nearby PCOM. As they sat and listened to my experience at National and vice vera, measuring experiences from their schools, it didn’t matter where or which school we went to. It’s always great to hear about different experiences from different programs.

Many were amazed at what a big campus NUHS is, and all the different programs we offer. Everything in life is a journey; we each have to figure out the best path to take. Perceptions depend on a person’s perspective, and “the grass is not always greener on the other side” applies. If a path doesn’t work for one person, it doesn’t mean it won’t work out for you. The best part is the mystery of trying and seeing how it will work out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Whatever happens, will happen. If something doesn’t work out at a particular moment, then regroup and try again. Maybe it’s timing. Maybe it’s the people. In the end, you are the one who makes the choice that’s best for you.

: )

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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