Student clinic is the time we students put our learning to practical use. It is a challenging, yet very rewarding time in our studies at AAAOM. Challenging because at first we don’t yet posses the experience and knowledge to know exactly which points and herbs to use with every patient but rewarding because our confidence and abilities as practitioners seem to grow by leaps and bounds. As student clinicians we are experiencing many conditions for the first time but as we see patterns repeated in our patients we gain confidence from knowing how to treat that particular pattern.
In my own student clinical experience, one of the most challenging things at the first patient visit, was to form a diagnosis and an effective point prescription relatively quickly compared to a classroom setting. As I have continued to practice this has become much easier and when I encounter a new condition I’ve not yet treated, I have learned to rely on some of the most commonly used and effective points initially and research the patients condition well for future visits. From this approach I have seen that the most commonly used points have proven to be some of the most effective points for many conditions and I’m well prepared for the next time I encounter a patient with a similar condition.
Another challenge for a student intern can be gaining the patients’ trust to help them follow practitioner suggestions outside the clinic. I have learned that patients really do desire to be guided by their practitioner and as we treat each person as an individual per their diagnosis and treatment we need an individual approach to build their trust as well.
The rewards of practicing in the student clinic are many. Working closely with the doctors has been especially rewarding for me. The one-on-one relationship with the doctors gives us a chance to see the diagnostic thought process and to hear the doctors’ individual insights on points and herbs. This is tremendously helpful while we try to form our own approaches to treatment. We are fortunate to have the benefit of learning from such experienced doctors at AAAOM. Of course, the most rewarding part of student practice is seeing our patients get better. Seeing them regain their health and to see them start to smile more with each visit and know you have been a part of that, is what we all strive for.
An often overlooked area of the clinic is the reception staff and the administrative staff that helps the clinic run smoothly. Their professional attitude and skills make it easier for the student clinicians to practice and there is much to learn from them about a well run clinic.
The student clinical experience at AAAOM is an invaluable part of our education. It helps us put all the parts of “the web” together and gives us the tools to offer our services to the public as we continue on the lifelong learning of our TCM careers.