Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rising Ire

There is nothing that gets my nurse cap and acupuncture robes more ruffled than unqualified practitioners claiming they are competent AND getting away with it. I will not rehash my position about "medical" and "dry needling" acupuncture programs, since I have already gone off the rails on this before. But I want to share a bit on a story I read today claiming a nurse practitioner who sees a few patients a week is only one of eight board certified acupuncturists in the US. Um, no. This is yet another in a crop of people who are dabbling in medicine without real training and part of a group that is advocating for acupuncture awareness. The problem is, these "medical" acupuncture associations do not acknowledge the NCCAOM, a body that certifies acupuncturists with master's level training, not continuing eduction level training. The other problem is, while they are gung ho on getting insurance and state-funded programs to get acupuncture coverage, they are advocating for themselves, not the profession. Here is my comment, just in case they decide not to publish it:

As an ANCC board certified family nurse practitioner and NCCAOM certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and diplomat in Oriental Medicine (practicing in the midwest where it is geographically impossible for Ivy League schools to exist unless the NCAA decides to restructure), I am curious where the "one of eight nurse practitioners in the United States with a board certification in acupuncture" statistic came from. How can one call themselves board certified in acupuncture yet simultaneously be "not an acupuncturist?" And which board is it? I did not see Boensch listed in the NCCAOM or Michigan Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine State registry. Tinkering in a medicine practice that requires a master's degree with residency is as unethical claiming you are qualified to be a primary health care provider because you passed a test and took a few weekend seminars. The Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association (which does not link to the NCCAOM) endorses a paltry 120 or 224 hour teaching certificate by the AMMA for health professionals. Would you feel comfortable if that was all the training requirement your MD needed to be certified in internal medicine or your NP in midwifery? Seeing a few patients a week does little to expand knowledge or practical application of education, and I wonder if the patients of these practitioners with limited training are getting better by accident, not by competence. While awareness of acupuncture is great, patients need to make sure they have well trained, competent practitioners, both treating them and representing profession.

And for anyone out there in an ire about me, as the gentleman was who accused me of being dishonest, misleading, and watering down the profession by using my earned and recognized DOM title (talk to the NM Board of Acupuncture or the AAAOM - I would welcome a national LAc credential over the hodgepodge of initials so many of us are sporting or making the DAOM the new minimum practice requirement and grandfathering in the MSOM folks), feel free to air out your concerns here!

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