span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-weight:normal;”>The following quote appeared in a forum post as a part of some pro-FPD material being circulated by some folks in California. I found it unfortunate.
“DO NOT LET SMALL NUMBERS OF LOUD MOUTHED UNDEREDUCATED OVER OPINIONATED MISINFORMED LOW LEVEL PRACTITIONERS HURT THE FUTURE OF ACUPUNCTURE AND CHINESE MEDICINE…”
This one is RICH with possibility. The fact that there are a lot of students and new graduates among CAN’s numbers apparently appears as a liability to certain of the pro-FPD folks. That alone says something about where they are and how far off the beam they’ve gotten. I know that there are many on that side of the argument who genuinely believe in good faith that the FPD will be good for all of us and for the profession, but I agree with Lisa that the faction that produced the load of crap above is the real snake in the woodpile. It occurs to me that this might create an opportunity among those of our number who’ve been around the profession for some time to speak directly to this bullshit from there. To wit:
In my years of practice, I’ve accumulated a lot of letters after my name, too. This of course makes me taller, smarter, more handsome, more interesting and therefore just generally better than the rest of you. Your failure to recognize my obvious credentially-generated superiority is irritating. But since the letters after my name don’t seem to be convincing to you, I now need the FPD to put “DR.” before my name to complete my ascension. Perhaps that will convince you peasants, and get the unwashed rabble to finally acknowledge my greatness.
The very condition of having been in this profession for a number of years should provide the greatest evidence that the “recognition” being sought by many of the proponents is, with apologies to Dr. Johnson, an example of the triumph of hope over experience.
I practice simply, by very clear choice, not because I am under-educated, but for the opposite reason, because I thought for many years that I had to learn everything to make up for the fact that I wasn’t an actual doctor and for what I saw as my duty to make up for the shortcomings of Big Medicine. The extraordinary hubris that represents on my part and the stupid mistakes I made because of it are an entirely other discussion. The relevant point here is that it led me to forget the real miracle of our medicine. While it genuinely offers the deepest and most elegant complexity to those who choose to go there, it also works beautifully in its very simplest forms. I have chosen to go in that direction because our “official” profession has almost completely ignored the real duty we have, which is to build the foundation that the organized profession has so far failed to create. I made the choice because, to use Lisa’s idea, the world very clearly needs cooks a hell of a lot more than it needs wizards. I am clear that the work I do is simple, and doesn’t solve everything or represent anywhere near the complete reach of our medicine, nor does it advance the frontiers of esoteric knowledge very much, but I am also clear that it renders me able to help about 4 times as many people as I could in conventional private practice, makes it available to people who would never be able to make use of it otherwise, and puts me every day, right in the middle of a great big wonderful community that I didn’t realize I was dying without until I found myself there.
By the definition above, I am proud to be a “low-level” practitioner. I am proud (not to mention relieved) to be “down here”, right at ground level, among the people who need help the most, and I intend to stay. The accumulation of knowledge (and the alphabet soup that goes with it) is nothing more than a function of time and intent. Anyone of average intelligence can do it, if they want it bad enough, and that’s sure as hell no guarantee of integrity or excellence in practice. Only time in the clinic will do that, and I read things every day from my CAN colleagues that tells me they are constantly deepening and expanding their knowledge of the medicine down here at the “low” levels, often in ways the schools would never even mention, because like everyone who’s actually working on the ground and not in academia or administration, they have to think about the heart of the medicine. They’re thinking about class, about justice, and about what we as human beings owe to each other, just by virtue of our common condition. By CAN standards, I’m one of the newbies, and I’m still learning the ropes of all this. In a lot of ways, I’m starting my own career all over again, and while I use what I know from the past every day, I also find out every day how much I have to learn. Becoming a “doctor” and hanging another expensive piece of paper on the wall won’t help me with that. Seeing lots and lots and lots of patients and continuing to find ways to weave the work into the larger community will.