A Year in an Integrative Medicine Residency: Part One

// Dr. Elizabeth Livengood – Anderson

 A Year In a Integrative Medicine Residency: Part One

This series follows Dr Elizabeth Livengood – Anderson as she navigates her way through her year in an integrative medicine residency.

The first quarter of my year in an integrative medicine Photo of the 2015-2016 STAIR resident participating in an integrative medicine residency. residency provided more experiences and emotions than I expected so soon out of school. My first day, I saw three patients  by myself with simple procedures and acupuncture. I was humbled and honored to be living my dream and earning  the trust of patients. I summarized the day with a simple post: “Best First Day of Work. Ever.” Later that week, a patient asked how long I had been practicing and I tried really hard not to look at my watch. I kept my doctor-face on and offered vague ideas about working part-time last year and full-time this month.

So far, a work day generally entails doing 87 things I’ve never done before. Usually it’s exhilarating, occasionally scary; most often it turns out great, and sometimes I’m reminded why it’s called a “practice.” Of course, I have the privilege of working with both naturopathic and conventional doctors, plus an amazing staff and peers, who are ready to help or offer humor as needed. I couldn’t ask for a better team.

Residency provides an extra year of supervised learning, but as a licensed physician, I try to think of my own answers before seeking advice. This helps guide my research and clinical thinking. Sometimes, with patients waiting and every task being novel to me, I feel the time-crunch of cramming in the extra learning while providing excellent care. On those days, I’m climbing the “Learning Cliff” rather than the curve. Dr. Garcia, Director of Graduate and Community Medicine at Bastyr University, prophetically described this residency with another phrase which has proven to be true, “90% of clinical learning will occur in curbside conversations,” meaning there are 30 second windows of collaboration amongst my peers where little pearls of naturopathic wisdom are handed down to the next generation: Me.

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 residency programs because we believe everyone deserves options to choose their ideal path to health and happiness.

Continue the story: A Year In a Integrative Medicine Residency: Part Two


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