One of the things that I’m sure will change as I move towards setting up my own practice is having other therapists immediately available to check, consult and discuss cases, and other non herbal stuff with.
As I write this, I am making up some clinic hours shadowing one of the second year clinics. Because there is nothing really for me to do at this stage, other than physically be here to get the time sheet signed, it has given me a chance to examine the dynamic of our training clinic, and gain a clear, uninvolved view of the interactions that occur. We see patients individually, with only a tutor present, but the dispensary its self serves almost like a common room – there is a large table in the middle of the room, that 10 people or more can sit around. At any one time in there, you will likely find one or two students making medicines, others writing paperwork or checking stock, someone making tea, and many more with their heads in books or laptops reading, working on their assignments, discussing cases amongst themselves and generally just learning by osmosis.
While I won’t miss this chaos, what I will miss is the vast pool of knowledge that the dispensary holds. There is always a tutor on hand to ask about clinical/therapeutic matters, and perhaps more importantly, other students who are at the same stage of the course as you. Just talking to them will give you a clear idea if you’re where you should be regarding progression through the course, and also expose you to other’s thoughts and feelings about cases, etc. The other students also have their own interests in certain conditions or topics, and areas of experience from dealing with their own case load, which may be quite different to your own. So there are always people to ask for a second opinion or advice, even if they are just as qualified as you are. A second opinion adds depth to how you see things and thus leads to a better understanding of a case, condition, or problem.
So, going and setting up my own practice will feel somewhat strange that resource is not available. Of course, there are always books, the internet, professional groups, etc., to ask, but sometimes you just need to quickly ask ‘I’m out of *** herb, I wanted to use *** as a replacement, does that sound ok?’ and get a quick answer. 9 times out of 10, you’ll be spot on, but knowing that you have another opinion is very helpful and definitely reassuring. I think I’ll miss it. It also instils a sense of community – we have walked a path together and formed a cohesive unit – and we are clinically very effective. But more than that, we are friends – with a love and interest in the same subject, living and working in the same place – a strong bond. Not having that bedrock of mutual support will be unusual/strange, and already makes me feel slightly isolated. Whether or not this turns out to be the case, I don’t yet know. Watch this space and see!