It’s that time of year again… the time for sheer panic because you’ve just got your refund check and realized that $83 just won’t cut it for books, rents, groceries, and all the expenses a trimester has to offer. So what did I do? I trekked to financial aid and asked them what I can do to make it through this semester. Although I have mountains upon mountains of work, studying, and preparation to do, I had to make time to write a few short essays for scholarship apps. The topic of the following essay is, “What I believe are the most important characteristics of a practitioner of holistic medicine.”
“My journey of becoming a practitioner of holistic medicine has not been a direct path, but more of a meandering journey. Rarely does one wake up and say – yes, I have exactly what it takes to become a practitioner of holistic medicine. For me, this realization was slow like a crescendo. The most important characteristics a practitioner of holistic medicine must possess are open-mindedness, dedication to continuing education, benevolence, and most importantly, they must have a present clinical mind.
In order to be a successful practitioner, he or she must be open-minded and dedicated to the lifelong journey of learning. Holistic medicine, more specifically, Chinese medicine, is very scholarly – even for practitioners who have been in clinical practice for many years, there are always more opportunities to learn from our patients. The beautiful, yet challenging aspect about this medicine is that no two cases will present identically. This means there are immense amounts of variability and many moments of potential learning.
We must be benevolent – meaning we must have a disposition to do good. For many patients, turning to holistic care is an act of last resort – one that brings closure to a frustrating journey through the convoluted processes of western medicine. Patients are stressed out, upset, and sick and tired of being, well, sick. As the last stop in the chain, we must care deeply, be generous, and offer a nurturing sounding board for our patients.
Lastly, good listening skills are very important. Make every effort to relate to the suffering of others. Establish a therapeutic relationship, for how much healing can occur in its absence? A practitioner of holistic medicine could be the most scholarly, the most published, and the smartest person on the face of the planet, but if they can’t relate to their patients the treatment is all for naught.
Attaining clinical excellence is a lifelong journey. I will keep my eyes open, listen carefully, be open minded, dedicate myself to learning, have a disposition to do good, and be as clinically present with my patients as possible. “
With any luck… maybe I will get a sum of money to help me squeak by this trimester.