With graduation only weeks away [really, weeks!] I have been giving a lot of thought to one of my own clinical questions: How has Naturopathic Medicine improved the lives the of the patients I have seen in the last year?
Really, I’m not sure. It’s difficult to keep up with patients after you’ve moved on from a shift and I often wonder about the patients I’ve seen. It’s a good sign when a supervisor or classmate stops me in the clinic to let me know one of my previous patients is following up – it means they still believe that what we are doing is a) helping or b) can help. There have been a few who have followed me through a quarter, and in those patients I have seen improvement. I take it on good faith that there are many more who’s lives I’ve touched.
When I first started clinic as a primary, I shared an article with you that my supervisor shared with me: Growing Your Health. In it, I talked about Dr. Victoria Sweet and the two ways Physicians can look at the body. She describes these as the modern and the premodern, the Fast and the Slow, or as a machine to be repaired and as a plant to be tended.
Today, I had the honor and privilege of attending the Bastyr University Spring for Health Luncheon, which benefitted uncompensated care for underserved patients in our community. The guest speaker at today’s event was Dr. Victoria Sweet [!!!].
Can you hear my excitement jumping off the screen?
Dr. Sweet spoke about her time at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital and her experience in the art of slow medicine – that is giving the body the tools and time to heal itself.
It felt sort of serendipitous to meet Dr. Sweet – she inspired me almost a year ago to continue to take my time when working with my patients [despite the crazy introduction of electronic charting and shortened appointment times]. She made me realize that with one visit, I could shape the way a patient views Naturopathic Medicine. One visit could show someone that taking the time to heal is healthy and natural. She helped me see that even if success is not immediate, it is inevitable and that has helped me overcome personal failures. Dr. Sweet’s point of view inspired me to keep believing in slow medicine, time and gentle healing.
As I near the end of my journey at Bastyr, I am re-inspired. I know I will take my next steps as a Physician and healer with an appreciation of the body and the wonderful healing that can take place when given time and space. I am reminded to ask myself: “what are my patient’s strengths and how can I support them? What can I do to nurture viriditas…?”
I am excited to finally read Dr. Sweet’s book [can’t believe I haven’t yet!].
I am thankful to be finishing this chapter in my life.
And I am eternally grateful for the patients who allowed me into their lives and gave me the chance to make a difference.