Articles about

Communication

"That Last Treatment Made Me Worse"

February 4th, 2021 — The phone rings in your clinic. When you pick it up, a patient says, “Hi, I need to talk to you about something. I think that last treatment made me worse.” What do you do next? Here’s an outline of how to create a positive outcome, i.e. make some safety, from this stressful and unavoidable situation. If you treat enough people, you will certainly get this phone call at some point!

Safety/Risk Continuum for Talking to Patients

March 27th, 2021 — Just like with needling, the more invasive/aggressive you are and the more territory you cover in verbal communication, the more risks you’ll encounter. Choose wisely.

If Safety Were a Deck of Cards

April 3rd, 2021 — If safety were a deck of cards -- bear with me for a moment here -- I think it would have four suits: organization, communication, boundaries and self-care. Any safety situation could be analyzed by asking what relationship each suit has to it.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #1

January 4th, 2021 — A veritable cornucopia of misunderstandings, stray needles, and boundary issues.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #2

January 26th, 2021 — Boundaries and empathy don’t have to be in an either/or opposition to each other; creatively making safety (even out of bad situations) allows them to be both/and.

Two un-answerable questions

December 30th, 2020 — Power can get confused with control, and bodies don’t respond to control. Thinking they do creates unsafe conditions for treatment.

When Acupuncture Overwhelms

April 7th, 2021 — Psycho-emotional triggers aren’t listed in the Clean Needle Technique Manual as an adverse event related to acupuncture, but according to our AERD data, they’re more common than fainting (which is listed).

Boundaries in Community Acupuncture, Part 3

March 31st, 2021 — Or, what I learned about boundaries by having an internet fight with Peter Deadman.

Homemade Swiss Cheese: Making (Imperfect) Safety

December 31st, 2020 — This post is the first of a series about lessons we learned from dealing with COVID that also apply to acupuncture safety in general.

Treating Sexual Complaints in a Community Acupuncture Clinic

May 5th, 2021 — Treating sexual complaints in a community acupuncture clinic requires an active, intentional approach to creating social safety. There’s no one right way to do that, and doing it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to treat everyone.

Billy, Don't Be A Guru

May 14th, 2021 — Safety requires transparency, and transparency requires that we actively and intentionally disengage from the role of Guru in our patient relationships.

Why Write about Safety Incidents?

May 21st, 2021 — Approaching safety issues from a structural and a trauma-informed perspective requires significantly more effort and more communication than the approach of “something scary happened, let’s find somebody to blame!”

"How Bad Is It REALLY to Date a Patient?"

May 26th, 2021 — The practice of acupuncture involves a certain amount of intimacy between humans, in the context of a society that’s just beginning to learn about consent, with capitalism telling us all that there’s never enough of anything good. (Spoiler: it's still a bad idea to date patients.)

On Firing Patients

June 27th, 2021 — If you’re treating enough humans to have a sustainable practice, you’re treating enough humans so that every now and then, things will go off the rails with one of them and you will have to end the relationship.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #4, Part 2

May 22nd, 2021 — Or, the 20/20 hindsight version. This incident clearly demonstrates the dynamic tension between safety and access, and I kind of hate that.

Risk, Entrepreneurship, and Acupuncture Schools

September 20th, 2021 — Or, “Why is a member of POCA Tech’s Advisory Board doing a conference presentation titled ‘For the Medicine to Survive, the Profession Must Burn’”?

Pneumothoraxes and a Culture of Safety

August 9th, 2021 — We can’t make good individual decisions about risk unless we have better collective conversations about safety.

Where Is the Line?

November 15th, 2021 — So many safety issues involve figuring out where the line is, why it’s in that particular place and not somewhere else, and what to do when somebody crosses it.

AERD Report 2023 Q2

July 13th, 2023 — So many safety issues arise in the gap between how patients experience receiving a treatment vs. how practitioners experience giving a treatment. Also, mind those Apple Watches!

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