How do you know when you're ready to start a clinical practice? 

Today, we're talking about how to know whether you're ready to start a clinical practice.

As part of New Practitioner Week, I've been asking people about the hardest part of getting a clinical practice started. "Knowing if I'm ready" has been a top answer.

In this episode, I share some info about how to know if you're ready and how to know if you're in the "bull in a china shop" phase ๐Ÿ˜ฎ.

If you're in the "I'm ready!" phase, come join us for New Practitioner Week

Oh, and if you need help with the basics of getting your practice ready to open (website, insurance, forms, etc), check out the Roots course.

Helpful Links for Practitioners


Episode 51 | Are you ready for a clinical practice? - powered by Happy Scribe

Well, hi there. Welcome to in the clinic with Camille. My name is Camille Freeman. I am a licensed nutritionist and registered herbalist, and in this podcast, I share little tips and tidbits that might be interesting or helpful for other practitioners.

Well, hello there. This message is for people who are just getting started with their clinical practices and maybe are are feeling a little insecure about doing so. Now, as some of you know, I'm hosting a new practitioner week later on in September. I have a bunch of people who've been registering for it over the past few weeks, and as part of the registration process, I've been asking people what's the hardest part about getting started? One of the answers that's coming up to the top of the list is that people saying, I feel like I have some imposter syndrome, or, I'm not totally sure I'm ready yet.

I don't know if my training is enough. I'm not sure whether I should start a practice or not. So I wanted to make this quick episode just to address how do you know when is it time to open your practice? How can you know whether you're having imposter syndrome or whether you're having legitimate doubts about whether you're ready and whether your training is enough? All right, so the hard part about making this distension is that sometimes when we are new or newer, we don't know what we don't know.

Some people call this the bull in the china shop phase, where you know just enough to think you know something, but you haven't yet gone through the dip where you realize, oh, my gosh, there's so much to this I'll never know at all, and started to come out the other end where you're saying, okay, I know a little bit. You want to have already gone through that dip and starting to feel like, okay, I know a little bit. That's a good time to start thinking about this. If you are in the phase where you're like, oh, I really love herbs, and I've read a lot of books about them, or I've taken a lot of webinars or single trainings, I've been to some conferences and that sort of thing, or perhaps you're saying, oh, I've used herbs myself. I had a health situation going on.

I did a bunch of reading, and I was able to really make some progress with my own health goals, and now I'd like to serve others. If either of those sound like where you are, you are probably, unfortunately, in that bull in the china shop phase. I hate to say it, but I also want to say it because sometimes, again, we don't know what we don't know, so I'm going to just say it to you now. What we're really looking for, for people who are ready to open their practices is again, do you identify with that dip that I just told you about, where you felt like you knew a whole lot about a subject? And then all of a sudden, it was way more complicated than you thought, and you weren't sure you would ever be qualified to do anything along these lines.

And you started coming up the other side of that mountain. That should feel pretty resonant to you. Now, what else am I looking for in somebody who's really ready to open those doors and start to do clinical work? Well, probably the biggest and most obvious thing is have you been through a training program that's specifically designed to train you as a clinician and or have you been through a mentorship or a supervision program around clinical work? If the program or programs that you have done don't have that clinical component, then I encourage you to wait to open your practice until you do have that supervised or guided experience with clinical work.

There are a lot of different programs that offer that really great ones all over the country and actually all over the world where you can get that kind of training with the supervision component. But if you have never worked with a client one on one in a formal clinical situation, it's not really time for you to open up your doors as a clinician. It's not time for you to start your practice yet. Sometimes if you've been through a theoretical clinical program but you haven't started seeing clients yet, and you've got a mentor or a supervisor to really closely work with you with your clients, you might be able to do that at the same time. But for the most part, we want to wait until a trusted teacher, guide, or mentor has kind of worked with you through one of these programs and then said to you, hey, I think you're ready.

You've got that trusted mentor or guide or instructor's blessing, essentially saying, you've been through this, you've checked the boxes. I think that you are ready to safely start working with clients on your own now. So how many clients, what kind of experience? This is going to vary a lot depending on the types of training and so forth. But for me, I'm really thinking not just one or two, not just friends and family, people who you already knew and we're like, oh, I've got a cut or something.

We want you to be working with people who have relatively complex things and working with them over time so you can see the effects of your suggestions and recommendations and so you can think about some of these things. All right, so that's a big one. Make sure that you've got some kind of clinical training and experience before it's time to open your doors. Another one that I use as a marker about whether you're ready or not is whether if I ask you, hey, are there any people that are outside of your scope of practice? Your answer should be yes.

If your answer is no and you say, okay, pretty much work with anybody. You are probably still in that bowl in the china shop phase. I am sorry to say, for the most part, almost everybody, especially in their first year or two of clinical practice, there are going to be things that are outside of your scope, such as working with people who are undergoing chemotherapy or perhaps people who have eating disorders. That may be something that you aren't trained to deal with yet. I'm not saying for everybody.

I'm saying for many people. People who are on immunosuppressive medications, this sort of thing, people who have very, very serious health conditions. There may just be things that you don't know how to work with. And you should have a process in place for screening folks to know whether this person is within your comfort zone or not. I'd also like for you to have a process in place for reaching out for support if you get in a little bit over your head with a client.

So do you have somebody trusted that you can bring the case to and get some help? Or do you have somebody that you can refer the person to who you do feel would be qualified to work with them? Do you have a referral list going and are you ready to use it, do you know how to use it and do you have a good sense of what's going to be within your comfort zone? The other thing is I want you to really have a solid materia medica. It doesn't have to be huge, but even just a couple dozen plants where you are very familiar with the dosage range, any kind of safety concerns, herb, drug interactions, those types of things, quality control, authentication and so forth I want you to know the core herbs that are going to be part of your practice really, really well.

So if those things are all in place, then I think we could safely say that you are ready. And if you're feeling a little bit of fear, a little bit of hesitation about getting started, dipping your toe in the water and opening up your doors, that it's probably just something, a mindset type of issue that you want to work out. One of the things I didn't address here was just sort of like the logistics of getting your practice ready. So this is things like do you have a business entity in a bank account? And so on and so forth.

That's outside of the scope of this particular episode. We'll deal with that in a different episode. But for right now, it's like are you just ready to say, yes, I'm doing it? And if you check off the boxes that we've talked about here today, you've been through a clinical training program, the person running it has said yes, I think you're ready. You've got a scope of practice that's really clear when to refer, who to refer to, and where to get help.

If you feel like things are out over your head or it's outside of your comfort zone, if all of those things are in place, then I think you're ready and it's time to take that leap. So if that's where you are, come on in and join us in New Practitioner Week. There's a free option and a $25 option to join us for the week. There's a bunch of lunch and learn training workshops and also some resources and other things that I've kind of added in there for you just to help give you a little boost as you get started on this road. The reason I'm doing it is just because I think that the world needs more practitioners who do this kind of work, and I know how hard it is to get started, so I wanted to do what I could to help people along the way.

So if you're available and you're ready, if you check off all these boxes, come on in and join us for a New Practitioner Week. I would love to have you. All right. Thanks so much for listening.

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