Monday, April 23, 2018

Find Your Trail Guide, part 4 of the "How to Get Your Foot In The Door" series

keywords:  hospital practice, prospective hospital-practice integrative health practitioners, students of East Asian Medicine (acupuncture), integrative health students, shadowing health care practitioners, preparing for hospital practice, shadowing in hospital practice setting, finding a mentor

This is the fourth in the blogpost series answering the question:
"How do I get my foot in the door of hospital practice?"
Stay tuned as posts will be published over the next 3-4 weeks.
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Quick overview

Find Your Trail Guide

EAM = East Asian Medicine.  Broad term that includes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and related disciplines.
EAMP, and L.Ac. = terms for a practitioner who has completed an ACAOM-accredited master's or doctorate program and has a current state license.  EAMP = East Asian Medicine Practitioner.  L.Ac. = Licensed Acupuncturist.  L.Ac. is the most common state license title in the U.S.
MD = medical doctor, physician

Here we go!  You have your basic requirements for practice.  Now, you must enrich your foundations through experience and human connection.  

To be successful in any new expedition in life, you need a trail guide, a mentor.

East Asian Medicine (EAM) has a long history of honoring mentorship throughout one’s career.  Who are your current mentors?  

To your mentor team, now add a hospital-practice mentor.

To find someone in your field (EAM) who is in hospital practice, connect to the online forums, take courses from them, or find a way to shadow them.

Mentorships during employment are discussed more in the "performance evaluation" subchapter of the book. 

Shadow Your Trail Guide (Mentor)

If you don’t already have an EAMP hospital practice mentor, consider shadowing one.  Ask politely and remember that not all programs are open to prospective practitioner shadowing.  Teaching hospitals tend to be more open to this.  Every situation is different.  There are a lot of rules about shadowing any type of practitioner in hospital practice whether they are an MD or an L.Ac. 

One summer, while I was a pre-med student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I shadowed a wonderful family practitioner at an outpatient clinic.  She invited me back to shadow her every week.  So, every week, on, maybe, Tuesday, I shadowed her for a couple morning hours between classes.  As a shadow, when you are watching the practitioner with the patient, the provider introduces you, you say a quick hello, and then you are silently observing the interaction and doing your best to stay out of the way.  Unless, of course, the provider asks you to do something (like catch the LPN for something). 

So, in clinical practice, who are your current trail guides (mentors)?

Which one is your hospital practice trail guide? 

Make a list of 5 health care providers you know who work in hospital practice.

What is their discipline?  (physician, EAMP/L.Ac., psychologist, physical therapist, etc.)

What is their specialty?  (pediatrics, obstetrics, brain injury, rehabilitation, etc)

Of these providers, which would you be interested in shadowing?  Politely ask each of them, explaining your reason for doing so (as a health care practitioner you are interested in how their clinic day goes).  When one of them says yes, set up a date and time and ask what the local facility protocol (paperwork, name badge, etc) is for shadowing.

Don't know anyone in hospital practice?
That's okay.  

Stay tuned for the next post, "What to Expect on Your Shadow Day"

copyright Megan Kingsley Gale.  all rights reserved.
Do not reproduce without author's written permission

Review the previous posts in this series
Basic education and licensing requirements before applying for hospital-practice work.
Benefits of shadowing healthcare practitioners
Pack Your Trail Bag--tools you need for the journey and how to develop stepping stones

Today's resource recommendations

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