By Anne Fallan, CCA graduate summer 2016
It has been quite a year since I graduated from the City College of Acupuncture! I took 3 weeks off before taking the plunge and worked for a local practitioner who was taking that August off to go travelling. I had observed them during my 3 years training and just before I graduated they asked me to cover their clinic in the coming August. My instinct at the time was to say no! I didn’t think I could take on such a role, especially as this practitioner had been working for 15 years and I just felt I wouldn’t be ready to take that on. Thankfully on reflection I knew I just had to go for it. One of the things we were told by our tutors was that we had the tools to be great practitioners.
I had a good handover so I felt comfortable that I knew where I was starting from and before long I was seeing 10 patients a week and loving every minute! I got a great boost along the way when I saw a new patient with severe sciatica who was on the verge of cancelling her holiday as she could barely walk. Seeing the improvement over a couple of sessions was so rewarding and she was able to go on her holiday as a result.
The holiday cover came to an end and I was offered a job in the clinic! At the same time, I knew I wanted to start my own clinic locally and after seeing lots of potential rooms, I am now settled next to a lovely Pilates studio. My work has built steadily through referrals and website marketing and has grown from 6 or so patients a week to between 15 – 20 (which is the maximum I want to take on at the moment).
If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be running my own clinic and business and be so busy I would not have believed them. It has taken off really quickly and I just feel so thankful to have trained at CCA. As a student we covered everything, from learning Chinese Medicine to running our own business.
Looking back, I remember how nervous I was starting out but I think anybody could be forgiven for feeling the same way – it’s natural, you just have to trust that you’ve got the support around you and the knowledge inside you to make a real success at being an acupuncturist.
The best piece of advice I can give to any current student is embrace those 3 years, ask as many questions you can and enjoy every minute of it. It isn’t always easy, however it is worth the hard work!