February 21, 2024

The week before last, during the last hour of a 22-hour series of flights to Vietnam, a filling in one of my teeth fell out.

Not exactly ideal, particularly given that we landed just before Tet, when everything is closed down for at least a week.

Fortunately, it wasn't hurting at all, and I was able to make an appointment with a Vietnamese dentist for earlier this week.

The whole experience was smooth, with easy online scheduling, top of the line equipment, and efficient paperwork.

What struck me most, though, was the dental assistant, who, while handling equipment, running the suction/water machine thing, and communicating with the dentist, also took the time to blot sweat off my face - it is definitely hot here! - and to dab some balm onto my lips when they seemed dry. Those small gestures went a very long way to helping me feel tended during a stressful situation.

I've been getting dental care in the US for more than 40 years, and I don't recall anyone ever taking the time to do something like this.

It got me thinking about what the equivalent actions might be in nutrition/herbal care.

What are the small touches that aren't technically required but show our care for the client?

Proactive check-ins between visits, perhaps. Remembering significant dates or events and asking about them. Offering to reschedule the appointment if a client arrives in the Zoom room and clearly isn't in a place to focus on the visit.

I'll be spending some time thinking about this over the next few weeks and would love to know what small things have made a difference either in your own work as a practitioner or in the care you've received as a client/patient.

Take care,

Camille

About Camille Freeman, DCN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for practicing herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a former professor with the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I taught physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating for 17 years. 

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