Monday, January 25, 2010

Intensity of 3rd Year Practicals

Third year comes with a heightened responsibility & increased level of difficulty in the practical sessions that only the pressure of clinic around the corner could apply. Last week we performed acupuncture on the "difficult" points including inside the orbit of the eye (ST 1), above the inner canthus of the eye (UB 1) as well as beside the carotid (ST 9, LI 17 & 18) and radial arteries (LU 8 & 9). Then, today we did our 1st phlebotomy (blood drawing) on each other.

It is interesting how some people have more anxiety about performing these particular tasks as the doctor and others have more anxiety being in the patient's position. Either way, I think it is a matter of conditioning and not any indication of competency or ability to be successful with certain treatments. Originally, it was protocol at CCNM that every male needed to lie down when having their blood drawn because statistically men were the most prone to passing out. I'm happy to say that I didn't pass out (and even watched my partner insert the needle and change tubes) however, I was kindly asked to lie down - the bigger they are the harder they fall!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Need an Adjustment?

Before beginning university, and before I knew about naturopathic doctors, I originally considered becoming a chiropractor. As I had several sport injuries, I was the patient of quite a few chiropractors across Canada.

This year's manipulation classes finally allow us to complete the final thrust involved in performing a spinal adjustment (or any other joint). Until now we have set the foundation and framework in place by learning: anatomy, physical medicine, orthopedic tests and motion palpations, observed manipulations but did not get to perform the actual adjustment on each other.

The teaching assistant for my practical group sessions is a chiropractic doctor and she busted the myth that it takes a strong male to have good adjustments. Instead, technique is everything! I find getting that perfect adjustment is instant gratification for both practitioner and patient.

I personally know several excellent chiropractic doctors and revere them as musculoskeletal experts much in the same way that a family doctor might revere an orthopedic surgeon. In the future, any difficult musculoskeletal case that I came across, I would not hesitate to refer my patients to them.

What I like about receiving adjustments from a naturopathic doctor (in comparison to other practitioners that can adjust) is that we are well trained in the adjustments that are required for the most common musculoskeletal conditions, take ample of time with each patient, and are not limited to only one form of treatment. Metaphorically, we do not need to hammer something that instead needs a different tool.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Learning Environment

There are occasions where I am reminded of how privileged I am to be in a learning environment where education rather than egos are encouraged. I was reading a story in a conventional medical email newsletter about how hierarchy is maintained by embarrassing (or worse) the new MD residents. Maybe it is because my school is 80% women but I have to say that I was again impressed by the atmosphere maintained during potentially awkward clinical requirements.

Earlier this week, I completed my first gynecological exam under the supervision of a practicing ND. I was politely interrupted to stop once or twice to perfect my technique and kindly given a reminder when I hesitated or forgot the next step. Maybe it is because most ND's are female that ND students are taught a very thorough, yet patient centered gynecological assessment, where each step is performed with maximal patient comfort in mind. I realize it is not neurosurgery but it is enough to remember the first time through, given the circumstances!

My point was not that we are sheltered, because where safety is concerned the standard is strictly maintained, but that we were presented with the best atmosphere, free from unnecessary attitude in which we could learn a skill.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Quote of the Month

"Negative feelings are like stray cats. The more you feed them, the more they hang around."
Joyce Rupp