The time has come to seriously look at the state of this profession and its influence in the U.S. Where are we? What has happened? Where do we go from here?
I believe that this is the essential first step. Time has passed and feelings have changed with the times. The profession must take a deep breath, hold it in, let it resonate, and exhale slowly.
Outside influences are beginning to gather strength and some acupuncturists have been included in numerous activities and events nationwide. Yes, this profession is being invited to the table of healthcare discussion and it is imperative that this continues to be supported.
This is the next step. Focus only on the necessary progression for creating a strong national presence within the healthcare community. The Affordable Care Act seems to be alive and moving forward in the right direction. The practice of acupuncture will survive just as it has for thousands of years and the trained professionals must be ready to meet the challenge of participating on a Community Team and being an integral part of a Medical Home.
Reviving and bringing life back to the profession and creating a national presence seems to be the ongoing debate. Outside forces are helping to revive this medicine. The final first draft of the ICTCM diagnostic codes, the inclusion in the Quality of Care and Patient Safety guidelines, the representation of acupuncturists of the Integrated Conference this past October is proof that this paradigm of medicine is on a rapid growth level. Are we ready for the challenge?
Over the last several years, I have seen Barbara Streisand, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Cher perform. They are the epitome of reinvention. Just as these performers have reinvented themselves, we must reinvent this profession and bring it to the national stage. We don't need to reinvent the medicine; we just need to bring it into the current evolution of healthcare.
The focus is quickly turning to functional restoration, the proof of outcomes, steps to prevention and wellness. We need the world to understand that this is where this medicine belongs.
Asian medicine has helped millions in the past and will continue to help millions in the future.
It is time to reinvent yourself and your practice. Learn to educate your patients. Learn how to speak with doctors. Learn to be a leader.
Learn how to be a team player. Learn how to present an effective report of findings. Learn to bill fairly, ethically and honestly to help ensure patient cooperation and reinforcement.
We have just come through the year of the Fire Horse, fast, furious and sometimes fearful. We are just entering the Year of the Sheep and must take action by not following the sheep's characteristics. People born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be gentle, elegant, smart, assertive, artistic, creative, curious, shy, determined and compassionate. However, they can also be indecisive, pessimistic or moody and tend to run away from problems instead of facing and fixing them.
Over this past year, individual feelings and reputations have been damaged and not much has helped to advance the position of this paradigm of medicine on the national scene. Now is the time to reduce the fear! Don't succumb to the fears of:
Too many acupuncturists.
Too much competition.
Not enough patients.
No money to pay.
Patients fear of needles.
Others who deliver the medicine.
Learn, practice and share with others the art of educating the patients. Relax, reset, revive, reinvent, reduce the fear, and refocus your practice. Learn, practice and share the inside information and language when speaking with a western practitioner.
It is now time for you and your medicine to restart the engine and step into the spotlight in your profession.
Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.
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