Another milestone made. Today was my last day of clinic.
For me, this is actually more profound than taking my last academic exams last week. Clinic is where I feel I have done most of my learning, at least practical learning, and the kind of learning I will be using in my own clinic in the future. And, because we often work as a group in clinic, there is a huge sense of camaraderie with the other students, especially in my own year, but also those in their first and second years.
So, the feeling as I walked out of that dispensary today was really quite strange… And somewhat emotional. It really feels like the end of an era for me. But it is also an end of an era for that clinic too; with the course moving to Lincoln College, the clinic in Bridge House will close this July. I’m possibly one of the last practitoiners to use it. Which is sad. Even though Bridge House it’s self is a temporary building (Or at least, was planned to be), the herbal medicine clinic has been there for over 10 years. That’s a lot of use by many herbalists, and a lot of history has seeped into the fabric of the building in that time. But it feels special for me because it feels like it’s mine – it’s where I did my training. It’s where friendships were formed, learning together happened, and where I walked a journey alongside my patients. Their journey towards health and understanding their own bodies, and my journey towards becoming a Medical Herbalist; the culmination of the last 7 years of work.
But apart from the memories, and my own journey, my thoughts have turned to the patients that I have seen and (hopefully!) helped over the last three years. Even though their cases will be taken on by the next wave of students, I feel a high degree of responsibility for their care. A few weeks ago, I found out that one of my patients had rearranged an appointment and had got put in the 2nd year clinic. This made me sad that I couldn’t ‘hand the case over’ to them personally. My course colleague Chris said that I just had to let it happen and not ‘hold onto’ the patients – to let them go and to not feel bound by it all.
Today, I had my final day of making up my clinic hours for my final year. But by co-incidence, the two long term patients I have on my ‘books’ were both in. One, I knew about in advance, and planned to hand over to someone from the 2nd year who I knew would be a good therapist for them. I did this, and it was lovely to be able to make that handover and say ‘bye bye’. But the real joy came in the afternoon when the patient who had got moved before I could hand over was down for an appointment. So I got the chance to hand over the case properly, and find out how my patient had been.
Saying that you should ‘let go’ is easy, and it is actually sound advice. But I needed the conscious act of handing over my long term cases to be able to crystalise the act of letting go in my own mind. Having done so, I can honestly say that I am very happy now – I know that my patients are in the care of great therapists, and will continue to do splendidly. But most importantly, it was right and proper to be able to say ‘Here’s your new therapist … Much sucess and health on your onward journey. Farwell…’
I will keep an eye on both cases – one I will still be in touch with as she is srarting the herbal medicine course herself, and the other I will make a point of checking up on whenever I’m in Lincoln, so it isn’t really an end – it’s just a new beginning. For them, and for me. But an ending that has been tied up well, with no loose ends.
These photos were taken in the Bridge House Clinic, and were ‘staged’ for use in a leaflet which was part of my business planning module. Normally, we wouldn’t take photos in clinic, and certainly not ones such as these!!!