Articles about

What is Safety?

Not a Weapon

January 10th, 2021 — Part of a culture of safety is the sense that we don’t have to hide our mistakes, and in fact we don’t want to; what we want to do is learn from them, together.

Reflection: Harm Reduction

January 27th, 2021 — Like trauma informed care, harm reduction is a public health approach that employs a non-punitive concept of safety. Sometimes safer is a better goal than safe.

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.

Stray Needles and Swiss Cheese Safety

January 12th, 2021 — Of the 160 incidents reported so far in our AERD, 26% are related in some way to forgotten or stray needles. This post is about the difference between following safety guidelines and creating safety.

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.

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.

A Queer Perspective on Acupuncture Safety

December 28th, 2020 — I’m going to argue that all of us need to learn how to think and talk about acupuncture safety in the same way that a lot of people in the queer, poly, and kink communities have learned how to think and talk about sex: without shame, without judgement, enthusiastically and in a lot of detail.

Kind of Like a Pit Bull

January 18th, 2021 — A common argument among acupuncturists is that nobody can safely practice acupuncture without at least three years of post graduate training at an accredited acupuncture school. Also, dogs.

If Your Patients Aren’t Breaking Your Heart, Are You Really Doing Community Acupuncture?

April 30th, 2021 — Anchor patients are the people who make the clinic what it is, who help set the tone of the organization, who remind the punks why we do what we do and make us want to keep doing it. The presence of anchor patients is one way the clinic creates social safety, and also is an indicator that a certain amount of social safety is present already.

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!”

Why Be an Acu Safety Nerd, Part 2

December 26th, 2020 — Acupuncture is basically safe. It’s so much safer than other forms of medical intervention that you should hardly have to even think about it. Right? Except for the times that you do have to think about it.

Blog Housekeeping (Work in Progress)

April 15th, 2021 — A check-in about the state of this project, what’s done, what still needs to be done, and where the Acu Safety Nerd is going afterwards. Link-fest ahead!

Tasks and Tools of Safety

June 2nd, 2021 — Because you *can* manage risk without spending most of your time and energy worrying about what could go wrong -- the way you do it is by focusing on building something positive.

Social Safety Swiss Cheese

July 14th, 2021 — Reflections on acupuncture safety incidents that involve no needles at all.

Clean Needle Technique, Social Safety, and the Benefits of Being a Safety Nerd

April 12th, 2022 — The idea behind Clean Needle Technique is that an acupuncturist needs to approach every patient as if they had all possible bloodborne diseases. This is important for your individual safety as a punk because you can’t depend on patients to 1) know their status or 2) tell you. But approaching every patient in the exact same way is also crucial to the social safety of the clinic -- and the bigger the clinic, the more people involved, the more concerning the potential consequences become for *not* treating every patient in the same way.

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).