Thursday, June 3, 2010

The first clinical impression

Keeping in mind that my first impressions of clinic are highly influenced by the kinds of health care issues the patients I have seen thus far have presented with, my first thoughts traveling home after my clinic shifts were much more melancholy than I was expecting. Some people are really in need of a significant amount of help. Another realization I have been continually reminded of is the critical state of our current health care system and the luxury naturopathic doctors have to spend sufficient time with their patients. We have the time to ask the detailed questions and actually listen to the answer (I truly believe that most family doctors do not prefer to spend so little time with their patients but are forced to do so in order to survive under the provincial health care billing system).

So far, my aspirations of the valiant hero who swoops in with the naturopathic coup de grace and instantly changes the person's health future have been shifted, I believe positively, to recognize that pacing myself will be critical. This is a learning process - it is called a "practice" for a reason! Even if I do have all the answers in a particular case, delivering those answers in a way in which patients will comply is an art in of itself. There are so many new realities now in clinic and it is a very steep learning curve. As such, the first couple of weeks have been somewhat overwhelming.

However, we do have a great amount of support at the teaching clinic. Each intern has at least 4 different supervisors, and is therefore exposed to 4 different styles of practice and patient case management. Additionally, we have a variety of health professionals available for consultation on site at the clinic including Laboratory Technicians, ND's, Chiropractors and a Psychologist. So, there is help when we need it.

This was just a first impression and is subject to change!

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