Policy on the treatment of students and staff in clinic

All students are recommended to receive acupuncture, herbal treatment and/or nutritional advice during their course, partly as an effective way of maintaining their health and partly to gain experience of the patient’s perspective.

However:

  • Acupuncture students cannot receive treatment which requires a full in-depth consultation in the College’s acupuncture teaching clinic. They can receive treatment in the herbs or nutritional therapy clinic.
  • Herbs students cannot receive treatment which requires a full in-depth consultation in the College’s herbs teaching clinic. They can receive treatment in the acupuncture or nutritional therapy clinics.
  • Nutritional therapy students cannot receive treatment which requires a full in-depth consultation in the College’s nutritional therapy teaching clinic. They can receive treatment in the acupuncture or herbs clinics.

The only exceptions to the above are:

    • The provision of one or two treatments/dietary evaluations for occasional acute conditions where only a brief case relating to that condition is taken.
    • When there is an unusually quiet day in clinic, at the discretion of the supervisor, a student or students may formulate their own proposals for acupuncture points to be treated / a classical herbal formula (perhaps modified) for self-treatment / a dietary intervention. These proposals can be discussed with the supervisor and can be seen in part as a learning exercise. This provision does not involve taking a full case history and no ongoing treatment is given. Students who do not wish to participate have the right to withdraw and undertake a different clinic-related activity. When students go on to make up an agreed herbal formula they will pay the standard price for the herbs.

A full in-depth consultation can lead to a significant degree of disclosure of personal information. The primary purpose of the above policy is to avoid difficulties for students who are in the practitioner role in clinic, under supervision, and who could be put in the position of acting as practitioner to friends and peers. It is also important to protect the interests of students in the role of patient/client, and to avoid additional complications for clinic supervisors.

The above policy applies to treatment of students in the teaching clinics. It does not apply to classroom sessions where students may practise clinical skills and may take the roles of practitioner and patient/client. Students are given guidance on appropriate levels of disclosure during these clinical skills classes.

If an applicant for the course is also a patient in the teaching clinic for their course, they will only be enrolled on the understanding that they will transfer to another practitioner before commencing the course. This is because the competing interests and boundary problems are particularly severe in this situation. This requirement will be clearly stated at interview and specified in the letter offering a place.

Treatment of College staff in the acupuncture clinic is limited to the provision of one or two treatments for occasional acute conditions or flare-ups of chronic conditions, where only a brief case relating to that condition is taken. On-going courses of acupuncture treatment are not allowed. College staff can be treated in the same way as other patients/clients in the herbs and nutritional therapy clinics. Students who do not wish to participate have the right to withdraw and undertake a different clinic-related activity.

It is acceptable for students to be treated by College staff in their own practices, as long as this is permitted by the relevant professional body. Staff who are involved in assessment will declare a conflict of interest at Assessment Board meetings and will not take part in any discussion of a student who is also their patient/client.

Policy revised by Academic Board 14/12/2017. Next review date December 2020.