A Year in an Integrative Medicine Residency: Part Two

// Dr Elizabeth Livengood – Anderson

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A Year in an Integrative Medicine Residency: Part Two

This series follows Dr. Elizabeth Livengood – Anderson as she navigates her way through her year in an integrative medicine residency as the 2015-2016 STAIR resident.

Doctoring and integrative medicine residencies, I’m learning, are less about confidence and more about courage: moving forward despite not having all the answers or knowing the outcomes.The half-way point of any endeavor marks a critical time to reflect on what has been accomplished and what lies ahead. Looking back on the first half of my year in an integrative medicine residency as the STAIR resident reveals a surprising shift in my confidence, a fine array of skills, plus a pivotal realization about acquiring these two assets. Recall Eugene Rosenberg’s iconic statement, “As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.” Apply that to ten years of college, two sets of board exams, six months of residency, and you get a very large circle of awareness about just how much I don’t know yet. Humbling, to say the least.

This also shook my confidence for a minute. Am I seeing enough patients? Is this the right mix of observations versus direct care? Am I getting an adequate variety of experiences? Am I taking full advantage of this rare opportunity in an integrative medicine residency to learn everything I can as a resident? Serendipitously, three separate mentor-meetings that week set my mind at ease. The wisdom and unique perspective of these mentors reminded me that I’m exactly where I need to be at this point/

Enough patients? My days at Revolution Health Medical Center are full of hands-on treatments and hour-long visits, while the conventional doctor’s office serves 20 patients by lunchtime. That's plenty. Variety? The changing seasons ensure that I see a blend of acute colds and flus along with chronic and complex pathologies.

Doctoring, I'm learning, is less about confidence and more about courage: moving forward despite not having all the answers or knowing the outcomes. It’s the same in life: every day, we face our fears and take another step forward, finding joy in the present, knowing that much has been accomplished and much remains to be done.

The STAIR Integrative Residency Program is a CNME-approved, postdoctoral, naturopathic, medical education program under the administration of Bastyr University. Integrative Therapeutics is committed to supporting initiatives like integrative medicine residency programs because we believe everyone deserves options to choose their ideal path to health and happiness.

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