Just Do It.

Coming into CA as a clinic owner/practitioner is one thing.

Unique demands surrounding the biz/clinic operations and hiring/managing people are as interesting as they are varied and unexpected, while demanding of collaborative, material and mental resources aplenty.

Coming in as an acupuncturist – with little previous experience, let alone CA experience – can be a daunting endeavor. But also an opportunity ripe for ‘playing up’ and bringing one’s clinical skills to an all-together different level.

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of mentoring two potent community acupuncturists during their initial months of practicing in this community clinic.

Both have particular strengths that mark an effective acupuncturist treating in the round: that is, they like to look after groups of sleeping people while insistently working to (actively & passively) encourage patients to pay attention to themselves – not the acupuncturist.

These two practitioners are very strong personalities – different in many ways as individuals – but as practitioners similar in their desire to defer from themselves.

While hosting visiting acupuncturists interested in the community acupuncture model, often the subject of ‘readiness’ comes up – as in “I’m not sure I’m ready clinically, to be treating so many people each shift”. And to be sure, starting from treating 1 person/hr as many graduating students are capable is in some ways a far cry from the 5-6+ treatments/hr a busy community acupuncturist will endeavor.

But the process of bridging this gap is going on across the country in many community clinics. In typical CAN-fashion many CA employers are beginning to pool resources, methods and information in order to help one another teach and mentor most effectively.


Tracy LaCreta has worked full-time as a community
acupuncturist since May, part-time before this since March.
She graduated from NESA spring ‘06.

With the hopes of blowing air in the sails of some of our colleagues who aren’t convinced they are legitimate community acupuncturist candidates, Tracy and I got together to have a little Q & A…

AW) What did you worry about the most at the beginning of your CA experience, that in retrospect you really didn’t have to?

TL) This one is a tough one because I was nervous in general I have to admit. Probably blanking out on what to do and running behind time for the rest of the shift. Which did happen. But it wasn’t the end of the world. Patients seemed to still have an enjoyable rest even if I wasn’t too happy or confident with my point selection just yet. But despite my sweating it out, I survived and was learning to trust the process.

AW) What was a most helpful thing at the time of starting off?

TL) Having cheat-sheets in the corner of the treatment room. When I had no clear idea what to do, I’d casually excuse myself saying I was going to be right back. Then I’d flip through flash cards I wrote up of Tan tx’s/Miriam Lee’s points or look at the Jingei Pulse chart or the Balance Method chart.

Remembering to stay in the moment and focus even when 2 people wake up while 3 people walk in all at the same time.

Also, taking cues from patients who were regulars at the clinic. They teach me so much!

AW) What surprised you the most about your initial CA experience?

TL) My first day mid-shift, I had a moment and looked around the room and there were five people sound asleep. I laughed out loud – I couldn’t help it…I just couldn’t believe how amazing it felt there in the room and how fun it was (and is)! I’m surprised at how much I learn every day and how grateful I am to have the opportunity to practice in this setting.

The other thing that has surprised me is the fact that patients teach me that I can be a very effective acupuncturist, and for lots of different people and conditions.

Author: andy-wegman

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  1. great post!

    That interview was a great idea.  Here’s hoping it will inspire folks to apply to all of the CA clinics that are currently hiring (which is so exciting)!


  2. I love this post

    and I particularly love this sentence:

    …particular strengths that mark an effective acupuncturist treating in the round: that is, they like to look after groups of sleeping people while insistently working to (actively & passively) encourage patients to pay attention to themselves – not the acupuncturist. 

    I think that’s the basis of our next “Help Wanted” ad.