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Safety and Organization

January 4th, 2021 — In order to create safety, you need to have a certain amount of organization. Safety doesn’t thrive in chaotic environments; it likes structure and stability.

More about Sketchy Guys (and Related Topics)

March 17th, 2021 — Many clinic safety incidents, before they actually happen, include some kind of quiet internal warning for the practitioner -- a sense that something about the situation is “off” or some misgiving or hesitation about a choice that in hindsight, turns out to be a mistake.

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.

Holding Space in Community Acupuncture

February 28th, 2021 — For a community acupuncturist, maintaining a patient base is a lot like being the nucleus at the center of a little electron cloud of patients. This is helpful background for understanding boundaries in the clinic.

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 #3

April 12th, 2021 — There’s always a dynamic tension between safety and access. You can’t treat someone if you can’t treat them *safely* -- which means unfortunately you can’t treat everyone. Even though, as a community acupuncturist, you want to treat everyone.

Leadership and Safety Part 1: Consent

May 7th, 2021 — Inspirational leaders make other people want to do things that those people were otherwise not motivated enough or not confident enough to do on their own. They get people to transcend their own self-interest to serve a bigger vision. That’s wonderful, right? Yeah, no, not really.

Leadership and Safety Part 2: "Edna Mode" Mode

May 9th, 2021 — “I know we decided to follow the CDC guidelines for COVID in the workplace, but now that we have something we need to follow them ABOUT, what if they’re WRONG?” This is when you need Edna Mode.

Work in Progress: POCA Tech Needling Policy

March 4th, 2021 — A crucial aspect of becoming a practitioner is learning to navigate safety and risk. Declaring a practice legal or illegal is not the same thing as making it safe or unsafe. Regulation and safety are not identical, though many people in the acupuncture profession believe they are.

Dual Relationships in Community Acupuncture

June 8th, 2021 — What they are, why you can't avoid them if you're a community acupuncturist, and some things to think about.

Reflection: Trauma Informed Care

January 24th, 2021 — A lot of what we’re advocating on this blog is a predictable, neutral approach to acupuncture safety that’s grounded in being 1) well-organized and 2) tolerant of humans being human. In our experience, those two elements fit together quite nicely.

Purpose Vs. Idealism

November 18th, 2021 — WCA has a difficult relationship with people who think of themselves as idealists; sometimes it seems like we attract them over and over even though we always end up disappointing them and they always end up frustrating us. It’s like moths to a flame -- if the flame were tired and exasperated and wishing the moths would do something more useful with themselves.

Re-Focus: ACMAC Conference Presentation

November 6th, 2021 — Giving a good treatment, whether in a community clinic or in any other setting, is largely a matter of focus. Our tools, our needles, are literally very small, you have to look hard to be able to see them (a fact that you’re reminded of whenever you drop one on the floor). Just finding the points in order to needle them -- that requires a lot of focus too. And then there are all the other skills of a good acupuncturist: paying close attention to a patient’s body language, knowing when to turn the intensity of your needling down or up, making sure the needles are neither too deep nor so shallow they’ll fall out, looking for the subtle signs of pain relief in someone’s face or movements in order to know if your treatment is working. Not to mention, in a community setting, keeping an eye on all the other patients in the room....Essentially, in order to give a good treatment, you have to pay close, close attention to a lot of minute details (and your fine motor coordination has to be excellent as well!). You can’t be a good acupuncturist if you’re distracted or careless. In the treatment room, you have to really concentrate. You have to control your attention.

The Small Business Mindset

November 21st, 2021 — Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about learning specific skills like bookkeeping, marketing, negotiating with landlords, etc. You certainly need those skills, but any of them are arguably easier to attain than the overarching mindset that makes somebody happy to work in a small business setting. This is something we’re belatedly recognizing at POCA Tech, so from here on out, you can expect us to never shut up about it.

Trying to Be Trauma-Informed about Everything

November 30th, 2021 — One thing I know about trauma is that recovering from it requires facing as much of the truth as you can. You might not be able to stand much truth at first and so you have to build up your tolerance over time. Facing the truth, like other forms of healing, is often a slow, incremental process. But I’ve learned that I can count on the truth to show up as a relief and also as a friend -- eventually.

Boundaries are for Suckers

February 18th, 2022 — Boundaries are a bitch. But I’m not.

Heading for the Cliff

October 29th, 2022 — For over a decade, all signs have pointed to the acupuncture profession being on a road (by choice) that leads to the edge of a cliff. That cliff can be defined as the point at which the cost of an acupuncture education is so clearly not a good investment that people stop entering the profession and thus stop funding its infrastructure (particularly the NCCAOM, which is one of the main gatekeepers for entry into the profession and so depends on, you know, people wanting to enter the profession).

Hope Is a Risk: Leadership and Pain Management

November 4th, 2022 — Successfully managing pain requires not fighting pain, because fighting pain involves focusing on pain, and focusing on pain makes pain worse. Resisting pain amplifies pain. Successfully managing pain, as a practitioner, means helping people focus instead on incrementally reducing their pain and incrementally increasing their quality of life. But the focus has to be on living life, not on fighting pain. And this requires leadership skills, because for most humans, the default setting is to fight pain.

Heading for the Cliff, Part Two

January 23rd, 2023 — Myths aren’t the same as fairy tales or folktales or any other story; they’re powerful and generative in a distinct way. Myths can make things happen, for better or worse. I think the acupuncture profession in the US possesses, and is possessed by, one of these: the myth of the scholar-physician with a hospital job.

Heading for the Cliff, Part Two

January 23rd, 2023 — Myths aren’t the same as fairy tales or folktales or any other story; they’re powerful and generative in a distinct way. Myths can make things happen, for better or worse. I think the acupuncture profession in the US possesses, and is possessed by, one of these: the myth of the scholar-physician with a hospital job.

Acupuncture as Work

February 6th, 2023 — Practicing acupuncture in a way that allowed me to make my living was more like raising a child than having a job or a career. And this isn’t because I’m a community acupuncturist instead of a private room acupuncturist, it’s because I was running a small business, period.

Order of Operations and the Acupocalypse

February 24th, 2023 — In community acupuncture, in acupuncture safety, and in running a small business, I’ve found that order of operations often represents the difference between being effective in solving a problem, versus unproductively spinning my wheels. You have to know where to start.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #5, Part 1

March 21st, 2023 — This particular incident is pretty irresistible as a teachable moment because nowhere in our materials on trauma informed care do we really dig into how bureaucracy can function as a trauma trigger, especially for low income people, and I bet there are a lot of people who don’t really understand how that works.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #5, Part 2

March 21st, 2023 — As passionate as I am about trauma informed care, it was definitely not my goal to put on a demonstration of the need for it.

Anatomy of a Safety Incident #5, Part 3

March 21st, 2023 — In general, when somebody gets triggered by bureaucracy the way I did, the best case scenario for what happens next is NOTHING. The person gets overwhelmed and flees the scene, and that’s all. Maybe they pull themselves together to try again another day. It’s more likely, though, that what follows is punitive consequences in some form or another, from the bureaucracy itself.