While attending the Integrative Health Symposium in New York City, a question kept surfacing within me, bubbling up to the forefront of my mind: “How can I appropriately share the wisdom of these other practitioners with my patients?”
There were a number of practitioner panels at the Symposium that presented informative and practical recommendations that I would like to put into my ‘repertoire of good advice’ immediately.
In our current integrative health environment, so many of us risk becoming a “jack of all trades, and master of none.” Our desire to be well-informed, knowledgeable, open and creative healers can be overwhelming. We are expected to determine the best integrative synthesis for patient care within an ever-growing list of options and offerings.
My advice to my fellow practitioners is to become good . . . no GREAT, at one or two areas of the healthcare spectrum. Focus your clinical expertise, speak from your passion and then liberally refer to other practitioners.
Share the wisdom of others freely, encouraging your patients to seek out additional sources for their total wellness needs. Recommend books to read and websites to surf. Offer advice but don’t feel the need to be the qualified expert on every integrative approach available.
Working collaboratively with other practitioners for the benefit of the patient is a very generous and enriching experience for both the patient as well as the practitioners. My own work is often done in concert with acupuncturists and physicians. This team approach offers our patients an opportunity to see two practitioners during a single visit and assists in facilitating a faster healing time by addressing multiple facets of a health problem simultaneously. The practitioners work together with each patient to design an appropriate treatment plan. Patients that have chosen this program have reported positive results from the focused coordinated care.
Many of our patients are enthusiastic participants in this maze of healthcare opportunities. They are ready and willing to try new methods and explore new avenues to wellness. We must be the facilitators, not the gatekeepers, of their care. The practitioner as “all knowing” is and always has been a myth. Now is the time to put that story to rest. The specific expertise that each of us does possess is more than enough to fulfill our desire to heal and care for our patients.
Give back the power of healing to the patient. They deserve it.