TED Conversations

Kathy Merrell


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What if medical schools cultivated the art of healing along with knowledge acquisition.

By the time a person actually becomes a doctor they've been stunted by spending years on the backbreaking labor of knowledge acquisition. Not only does this activity break the connection to one's "small little voice in the head" that might save the patients life, but it makes a person a slave to knowledge that is quickly outdated. Doctors can be myopic and closed to new information precisely because medical education is overwhelming biased toward studying; it leaves new doctors wildly unprepared to listen and heal.


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    Feb 1 2012: I have also known physicians - including surgeons - to take weekend long courses in new procedures and technologies and start practicing on patients right away. Isn't medical school predicated on see one, do one. teach one? But that's not to say I disagree with you. I would think certification requirements are a key to widespread adaptation of all integrative and preventive therapies, including acupuncture, yoga instruction, massage therapy, etc. I will point out that this is happening in some places. New York State, for example, requires 200 hours of instruction to receive medical acupuncture certification. which includes 100 hours of instruction and clinical demonstration and 100 hours of sequential specialized instruction in specific uses and techniques. I also want to say I am very thankful for physicians like you who hold the line on quality of care. You are the reason that much of the current healthcare in this country represents the gold standard on the planet. Bests Regards!
    • Feb 1 2012: Thank you for your response, Kathy (and the unlooked for elevation in status) :)))

      I am not a clinician.

      My background is that of a clinical nurse specialist and I have 35 years experience working for the NHS in the fields of trauma and orthopaedics. Having retired 10 years ago from the NHS, I now work for myself as an orthopaedic technician. I specialise in working with very young children with spinal deformities, hip diseases such as Perthes, CTEV (congenital talipes equino-varus) and Ilizarov frames; post leg-lengthening surgery.

      My work is primarily the bread and butter work of fractures secondary to trauma. My specialist work includes NICU, PICU, ICU, (all intensive care units) Theatre (OR) and A&E (ER). The quality of my delivered care is extremely important to me and I do what I can to ensure that the needs of the patient are the only consideration with which I legitimately concern myself.
    • Feb 2 2012: Wow. 200 hours and they get to work as an acupuncturist? Zoinks. That is very little. We have an associate clinician on our staff who has over 2000 hours of oriental medicine coursework and practicums before she even worked a day at that job. Add to that 20 years experience and you have someone who can contribute significantly to pt outcomes. I'm not sure someone with only 200 hours could cut it.

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