Here at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine(MCOM) we believe that the clinic is the most important environment for a student to come into their own as an Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. This is why students at the MCOM start their clinical experience the very first week of school during the fall quarter.
- Ask Questions! There is so much to be said about the learner that asks questions. New students to TCM are often presented with a medical view point that is vastly different from the Western medical model in the USA. This is often reflecting in the baffled faces by the zang/fu diagnosis they hear associated with a common cold. Ask your treating intern why their “floating” pulse is an indicator that their wei qi is fighting off an exogenous evil. Also, many of our students do not come from a medical background and are not overly familiar to the flow in a clinical setting. During your OSHA and HIPPA training, you may come across topics and discussions that don’t quite make sense. Speak to your clinical supervisor about these questions to assure that you pick up the pace and lingo in this new environment.
- Come to Clinic Prepared. This is very important. Having the proper attire and materials not only improves your grade, it better prepares you to learn when the opportunity presents itself. As you learn the accessory techniques in the classroom, you need to bring your tools to clinic so that you can apply what you have learned in a clinical setting. Practice makes perfect and the student intern that seizes these opportunities by being prepared accelerates in this part of the learning process. Two must have items is your blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.
- Study Before You Come to Clinic. Every week in class you are going to learn something new and exciting. Take time to reread course materials so that what you observe in clinic makes more sense. Completing the recommended reading will also help you become familiar with sections of books that can be used for reference while you are clinic.
- Eat Something Healthy Before Your Shift Begins. This is probably one of the most underrated pieces of advice that we give our students. In the hustle and bustle of the modern culture, our society is simply not eating healthy. Now that you are a part of a community of healers that is going to advise patients on TCM nutrition, it is important that you practice what you preach. You are going to need a lot of good qi to operate at a high level in the clinic. Not only will this help you succeed, this will help you provide better care for our patients!
- Learn to Work as a Team. The MCOM Student Clinic is a fast paced and often busy environment. Very often a patient influx will cause students to work with every minute in mind. Learning to ask for help and to keep the clinic flow moving at an efficient level is crucial to your success as a student at MCOM. We are all here to learn to help people get well. With that goal in mind, we all need to do our part to assure every student receives the same opportunity to learn and succeed. If you are feeling overwhelmed or do not know how to do your part, talk to a supervisor and they will show you how to walk the walk.
- Don’t Let Your Ego Keep You From Learning. Students at MCOM come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We want our students to check their egos at the door to allow for a learning environment with less conflict and more teamwork. No matter what you have accomplish previously to coming to MCOM, don’t let that prevent you from learning from a fellow classmate or teacher.
- Don’t Operate in the Clinic Under a Prior License. MCOM is a learning center for many Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Nurses, Doctors, Naturopaths, Reki Masters, etc. There is always an incredible amount of knowledge in our school from several disciplines. The student clinic is not for students to exercise the skills they already know. In fact, this is a quick way to become disciplined at MCOM. Afterall, students do not come to MCOM to practice what they already know. Students come to MCOM to learn incredibly valuable skills that need their full attention and effort in the clinical environment.
- Don’t Become the Clinic Lone Wolf. Students at MCOM are encouraged to work as a team and ask for guidance. Learning by working as a team offers immense benefits opposed to trying to learn this medicine by yourself. Your clinical supervisors were handpicked because of their excellence in the clinical setting. The amount of knowledge and experience they have to offer to our students is unparallel to any other student clinic environment. Take advantage of our experts and ask for their guidance and viewpoints.
- Don’t Shy Away from Communication Opportunities. Communication is one of the most valuable tools in the healthcare practitioner skill set. Being able to properly communicate and have your patient understand what you are trying to accomplish is paramount. When you start to learn the skills and ways perform patient intakes and explain treatment, make sure you get feedback on your communication skills from other students and clinical supervisors.
- Don’t Forget to Have Fun! This is the best part about being a student at MCOM. We strive to continue to provide the absolute best clinical experience for our students. This is where you learn to apply what you learn in the classroom. There will be some stumbles along the way. As long as you work hard and have fun, you are going to succeed!