Patient Plateaus


Part of being an expert is knowing when you can’t help someone or can’t help them further. Do you try to treat everyone? How many treatments should you do before you refer them to another practitioner or order further diagnostic tests?

I spoke with a patient the other day. They had been seeing another acupuncturist weekly for a couple of months and they didn’t feel any better. Is it really best to just keep treating a patient until the patient decides to quit? Aren’t they going to feel that you ripped them off? Why didn’t you stop treating them and refer them to someone else that could possibly help them? You are either going to have someone saying that you just treated them for the money or someone saying that you couldn’t help them but gave them a referral and didn’t drag it on and on. The referral shows that you actually care more for their well being than for your own pocketbook. It is the ethical and professional thing to do and it is good for your reputation. Part of my “dialogue” (please see my dialogue blog) is this; “There is nothing I want more than to help you, but I also don’t want to drag things on and on and waste your time and money”.

Know your art

It is so important in my opinion to have a mentor; to study and work under a mentor at the beginning of your career. 2 years is a good amount of time. Some types of conditions you only see once a year! This will give you a chance to see 2 of them! If you don’t do a mentorship straight after graduating, it will become more and more difficult for you to do it. If you start a practice, how will you leave your patients and your income for 2 years? If you are a recent or soon to be grad, seek out an experienced practitioner, in the specialty you desire to learn, and become their slave!

Acupuncture Training With A Mentor

Studying with a mentor is a huge part of learning your art. You will learn how things should progress with different conditions. When you start treating, you’ll know what kind of results you should be getting. When you’ve honed your craft to get the kind of results that you should be getting, then you will recognize those patients that aren’t responding normally.

I remember 2 patients in particular, not that they are the only 2 I couldn’t help! But they illustrate my point well. They had sciatic type pain. Pain deep in the buttocks. But they didn’t respond like normal. It turns out that they had bone cancer of the ilium. Please learn your art so that you can make competent referrals and become a trusted practitioner in your area. The patients that come to see you are trusting in your expertise to do what is best for them.