Tuesday 8 April 2014

I Love My Job!

I love my job!

How many people can say this, with hand on heart, and really mean it?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a job as 'A regular activity performed in exchange for payment, especially as one's trade, occupation, or profession'.

That definition seems far too shallow to me. Certainly, acupuncture treatments are indeed a regular activity, particularly in the initial stages until the patient regains a better physical and emotional balance; and of course this involves an exchange of payment. But there's far more to acupuncture than this.

When a patient comes for treatment, I have the privilege of being allowed into their life and I am invited to embark upon a journey with them - a journey of discovery, about themselves and their interactions with their nearest and dearest, and an exploration of options and the initiation of change.

Every encounter with a patient fills me with humility as I am left wondering 'Why me? Why have I been chosen to walk hand in hand with my patient,  into their unknown territory? Why are they seeking support and reassurance from me during this period of transition? Surely there are other practitioners out there who have more experience, greater knowledge and profound wisdom who would be their preferred choice?'

I have come to realise that when a patient's path crosses my own it is because we both have valuable life lessons to learn. We have been fortunate enough to have been put together at this particular time and place, and have been given the opportunity to learn these lessons from each other. 

There have been instances in my practice when a patient's predicament resonates very strongly with me and with a similar situation that I have been through in the past. In such instances, perhaps it is the benefit of hindsight and experience which are useful in helping to explore options. But I am also often challenged to reflect upon my own past events in order to reassess as to whether I could have done things differently, or more importantly, better - not always an easy or comfortable exercise, but nevertheless always best tackled face on rather than burying my head in the sand.

I have also treated patients presenting with extremely challenging conditions, some of which I may not have encountered before. I welcome these patients with open arms, an open mind and an open heart, for it is here that I am given the chance to learn the greatest lessons of all - to be open, honest and receptive to all things, to listen to my patient and to assess their needs, and to quieten my own self doubt so that I may do my best by my patient, with every good intention. If my best does not seem good enough, then I will have had the privilege of encountering a new experience and an invaluable opportunity from which to learn. 

What more could anyone ask for? This gives 'learning on the job' a whole new perspective.