Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Clinical Student Handbook

Role of Clinical Faculty in Clinical Education

Clinical supervisors assume the primary responsibility for patient care in NWHSU ACM teaching clinics and are responsible for the welfare of interns and patient safety, while guiding the students’ integration of classroom theory into application in a clinical setting.

Clinical Supervisors – Areas of Responsibility

Clinical supervisors have four primary areas of responsibility:

  1. Assuring the provision of high quality patient care
  2. Providing education to interns
  3. Assessing clinical competencies
  4. Assuring that all legal and safety guidelines are followed.

Clinical supervision is a hands-on activity, requiring consistent personal contact and interaction with interns. Above all, clinical supervisors must be astute observers, simultaneously aware of an intern's overall approach to patient care, and conscious of the subtle details of an intern's interaction with patients, their intake skills, diagnostic ability and treatment techniques. Such meticulous and detailed observation is vital, and determines the quality of immediate critique and long-term guidance upon which effective training depends.

Interns have the opportunity to work side by side with their clinical supervisors to enhance the clinical experience. Clinical supervisors function much the same way as a mentor in assisting the student’s clinical development. In order to accomplish this, supervisors must utilize various skills including: observation, assessment, guidance and on-site critique.

Since supervisors have responsibilities to several interns and patients at once, it is neither possible nor expected that they attend every aspect of every treatment. It is expected that as interns gain knowledge and experience in the clinic, they will perform with more independence. The level of clinical independence is always determined by the supervisor, not the intern.

The following tasks are performed by supervisors for all treatments during the intern's entire supervised clinical internship in ACM’s teaching clinics:

  1. Discuss learning outcomes, goals and competencies laid out in the syllabi on the first clinical shift together.
  2. In consultation with the student intern, evaluate the patient’s progress to date.
  3. Confirm all diagnostic indicators: pulse, tongue, general observation and body palpation.
  4. Discuss, guide and approve the student’s diagnosis and treatment strategy (supervisor must initial these in patient chart).
  5. Confirm point location, needle placement, and needle technique.
  6. Observe, assess and critique the student’s clinical techniques, allowing for increasing independence as skill levels increase.
    1. If it is the first experience of working together, the supervisor will observe the first occurrence of an intern performing cupping, guasha, tuina, electrical stimulation, aggressive needling technique, and bleeding.
  7. make careful judgment about how much intern independence should be permitted
  8. hold interns accountable for professional standards, codes of dress, prompt and courteous patient care, legal and safety guidelines, proper record keeping, and maintenance of a clean and orderly clinic

Intern Evaluation of Supervisor

Each term, interns are asked to evaluate their clinical supervisors. Intern evaluations are reviewed by the ACM administration and ACM Clinical Education Chair, who will meet with each supervisor to discuss evaluations provided by all interns, as well as any staff reflections, and the supervisor's experience in the ACM teaching clinic.

Differences in Clinical Education for Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (CM) Interns:

Interns not trained in Chinese herbal medicine* have slightly different expectations from that of the CM interns. To ensure that the CM interns receive experience of herbal outcomes, attempts are made to assign those interns to supervisors who have treatment experience with herbs. In order to provide a depth of experience and learning opportunity, acupuncture- only interns may also be assigned to CM supervisors.

*Acupuncture-only interns are not held accountable for the educational objectives regarding herbs.