This month, we welcome the year of the Golden Pig, which only happens every 600 years. When I think of the term golden, I reflect on the first part of the word: gold. In this, the year of the prosperous pig, and with your latest New Year's resolutions fresh in your mind, you might want to consider making some positive changes in your life - changes that could increase not only your personal and practice prosperity, but also the prosperity of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.
As most of you know, I have the privilege to be a part of the faculty at several of the Oriental medicine schools.As we begin a new year, it also brings a new quarter and many new and eager students. In one of my ethics classes, we looked at the NCCAOM Code of Ethics. This is an excellent reference document and should be reviewed on an annual basis, just to help remind us of our professional and community responsibilities.
As a professional in the medical arena, you have an obligation to participate in the community and its activities where you practice and live. As a traditional medicine provider, you have an obligation and duty to participate in the activities and workings of the professional associations. Participating is the sharing of activities with others. That would be a good motto for this profession. What would it take for this profession to be united and to move forward in educating the public, passing favorable legislation - both state and national - and raising money to help the various projects that involve the Asian medicine profession?
What would it take to gather commitment for common goals in this profession? Ask yourself, am I willing to commit to helping further this profession? How would this affect me, my personal life, my practice and my goals? Am I willing to commit because it's important to me or because someone else wants me to? What changes in my personal life do I need to make in order to support, talk about and participate in the activities taking place within my community? Can I be persistent in supporting this profession and helping the leadership to achieve the goals of unification, education and fund-raising? What can I do in my own practice to educate my patients so they tell their friends about the healing qualities of traditional medicine? Have I done everything I can to educate the patients in my own practice?
As the new terms begin at the acupuncture and traditional medicine schools, a new group of students faces the teachers. The students enter each class with an element of trust that the teacher will impart the necessary and correct knowledge to prepare them for their future careers. When new patients enter the office of a licensed practitioner, they come with trust that this medicine will help them. In turn, the practitioners trust the patient to keep their appointments, follow the given instructions and receive the treatment. Why then, as professionals, have we seemed to have put aside the trustworthiness exercised in other parts of our lives and practices?
This profession is divided along ethnic lines more than any other profession. When the World Health Organization began the talks regarding standardization of terminology and point location, some countries walked out as these discussions progressed. The fundamental element of trust between parties eventually began to build because everyone realized they were all working toward a common goal that would benefit the citizens of the world. No matter their color, race or creed, the world's sick people can be helped by this medicine. Why then, in this country of plenty, do we have so much difficulty with trust and respect for each other in this profession?
Traditional medicine is facing challenges with deadlines. The population of patients being served is facing the age of Social Security and Medicare. Now is the time to strive for reimbursement. More and more young veterans are returning from war zones around the world. They need and deserve the service of traditional medicine providers in the U.S., and these providers have earned the right to be paid accordingly.
Trust, respect and dignity are words and behaviors that apply to the patients you treat. Your patients treat you in the same manner. When are we going to start applying these same principles when working with each other to further this profession?
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