While I was still a student at acupuncture school, I became aware of the community acupuncture movement and immediately knew that I had found what I wanted to do as a practitioner. I signed up for a membership in CAN (now POCA), read through the forums daily, starting volunteering at my nearest CA clinic, attended a CA 101 workshop, and generally did my best to prepare myself for my post-school working life.
And yet, during those first few weeks and months in my slowly-growing clinic, I felt like a fraud. I didn't really feel I understood how my clinic was supposed to be set up, or how my interactions with my patients were supposed to go. I scoured the forums and made literally dozens of pages of notes, and I still felt like I was trying to learn how to dance by reading a book about dancing. I didn't know where to put my feet or how to move. I needed to see it in action.
When I finally attended the first CANference, I suddenly understood that many of us felt this way. This feeling persisted through the second CANference, the first POCAFest, the Big Damn Clinic workshop, and the second POCAFest. All around me I saw punks with “aha” looks on their faces, heard people say, “Oh, so THAT'S how you do that! I had wondered…”; saw folks taking photos of administrative setups and chair arrangements, welcome signs and bulletin boards. Finally we were learning to dance by watching instead of reading, and jumping in.
And now POCA TV is taking this collective understanding so much further. I can ask submit a question to my colleagues (“How exactly do you…?”) and they will make a thorough and entertaining video that answers all my questions (and ones I probably would have gotten to eventually). But it's more than just me understanding the dance. Previously, if I was having trouble explaining something about our systems or philosophy to a co-worker, I would have to either try to come up with a better explanation, or give up in frustration that I wasn't making myself clear. Now I can now sit down with them in front of a POCA TV video, watch three different people give their versions of the same explanation, and see the concept finally hit home.
I'm not sure I can adequately express just how much this has changed how things are going at my clinic, but I'm pretty sure that we're not the only ones. I feel like all of us in POCA have taken an enormous step together- in time, and with the music now. I've been feeling a bit jealous, honestly, that the students entering into POCATech will graduate so much more prepared than I ever could have been. My subscription to POCA TV is easing that feeling a lot.
If you've been hesitating about sponsoring, believe me: it's worth it. Basically, we can all get the community acupuncture education we always wanted, for the price of one acupuncture treatment a month. Since most of us never have to pay for acupuncture (perks of being a punk!), we can invest that $15 in ourselves and our clinics. Now if we can just get the punks from Providence to do a video teaching us that great dance they did at POCAFest…