View Advice for new or aspiring punks

“CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE!!!!!!  Do what you gotta do to keep yourself upbeat.  Also while you’re slow, perfect your intakes, needling, the art of the blanket, timing, talks, whatever.  That way when you are busy you’ve got it down already - you have something real to fall back on.  Don’t fight the urge to go faster … GO FASTER!  Also call your friends, call your family, call your co-workers and bring ‘em in!”
-Sarah of Philadelphia Community Acupuncture

“I think communication is a really, really good idea. One thing they never taught us in acupuncture school was treatment plans and how to communicate that and talk to patients. Being able to treat people or talk to people in a way that they feel like it’s about them and not about you is really important and being effective to communicate treatment plans.”
-Mary of Manchester Acupuncture Studio

“Learning social skills and becoming good at short meaningful bursts of communication is key in the clinic. That’s a big piece of the picture. We need more social competency in the clinic from acupunks and it is possible to learn it. One of the things I’ve learned from Lisa and Skip is that you’re signing up to treat people that need help and you’re not always going to like every one of them. You can become available to people around you by being mentally or energetically willing to help whoever comes in your door within reason.

“Probably the most useful clinical tool for any acupunk new to CA is to have some version of point protocols and communication protocols that feel good to you and make sense. I have found effective point protocols in Tung, Tan, and Miriam Lee materials, as well as some TCM books.

“One of the ways Lisa suggested that I begin treating folks in clinic when I was brand new was to use Miriam Lee’s 10 points on everyone and do anything else I felt made sense to direct the treatment to the specific complaints of the patient in that moment. Having some foundation was useful in a clinical sense.

“I was largely untrained in social interaction and being a calm professional helper. You have to learn as you go and have all the experiences where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing yet while helping patients that are paying you to help them. It’s rough to go through the stage of not knowing if your treatment will help the patient in front of you in the way you both want it to. It’s also confusing to develop a clear sense about frequency of treatment. It’s a lot to figure out, yet it starts to come together little by little as you stick with it. As Lisa said once a long time ago, ‘you just need to put your hands on lots and lots of patients’.

“My current communication protocol for treatment frequency: These days I would say to a new patient or someone I am meeting for the first time: notice how intense your symptoms are, whether they are mental or physical. If they are average intensity, from your point of view, come about once a week; if they are a little above average intensity, from your point of view, come more like twice a week, when you can afford to. If things are so intense that you feel hopeless, utterly overwhelmed, or in so much pain you can’t think about anything else, come in every day or every other day until you feel better. Anytime you get acupuncture, always do what you can afford in the moment. Sometimes I add clarity around number of treatments. When looking at treatment frequency, consider around 1-3 treatments for minor issues, 6-10 treatments for average intensity issues, and regular ongoing treatment over time for more intense or long lasting issues.

“Eventually, the process of treating patients for me, and for other punks working around me, seems to be part intuition, part point and communication protocols, and part reasoning out collected information from each patient. I recommend being open to developing your intuitive sense of what to do on top of using protocols. With any protocols, add what you feel clear about from your own clinical experiences in the moment you are treating your patient. Keep them so simple so that you can make changes easily, like doing the same point group on the other side of body.”
-Moses of Working Class Acupuncture

Chapter 5 How to Apply for a Job in a POCA Clinic


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