Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Clinical Student Handbook

The Role of Clinical Education

Clinical education provides opportunities to translate academics and Evidence-Informed Practice (EIP) with real-world experience as emerging licensed acupuncturists (LAc) and Chinese medical herbalists. The focus of ACM clinical education at NWHSU is multifaceted and dynamic to meet the ever-changing needs of multiple consumers. The policies outlined in this manual not only address the clinical education components of the internships, but also patient safety, professionalism, and quality of care issues.

As stated earlier, a primary goal of this program is to graduate professionals who feel proud, grounded, and confident in clinical skills and comfortable in work as an integrative medical care provider. To that end, the NWHSU clinical experience is based on two primary components: Clinical Observation and Clinical Internship. Each of these clinical experiences provides unique opportunities to participate in clinical care and develop the clinical competencies of required of all practitioners.

Basic objectives of Clinical Observation:

Clinical Observation is a sequence of courses divided over the first four terms of a student’s experience at NWHSU. Students observe both upper level student interns as well as Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc’s) in the direct treatment and care of a wide variety of patients. There is a progression from clinic observation in Terms 1 through 4, as students gradually move through didactic classes that help to inform and engage critical thinking about what is being observed.

  • Students are given numerous opportunities to observe licensed acupuncturists and herbalists in a wide diversity of clinical settings treating varied populations, as they apply the principals of diagnosis, treatment planning and treatment techniques.
  • Students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences at these various sites, and learn through observation about best practices and standards of care of the ACM profession.

Basic objectives of Clinical Internship:

Clinical Internships are sequenced through NWHSU on-site clinics for new interns, and gradually expanded to external sites where students have access to hospitals and community clinics. Each site offers something different to the student, and some sites restrict clinical techniques, so interns are guided through the selection process to help meet their needs.

  • Supervised clinical environments allow students to treat patients by applying the principles of diagnosis and treatment planning and by using a variety of treatment techniques of Chinese Medicine.
  • Each site provides a unique educational structure that offers students a variety of experiences to aid development of clinical competencies leading to increasing levels of independence and responsibility in preparation for professional practice.