If you were treating a complicated case in clinic and feeling gormless and lost, fear not because you could always come to the next clinic seminar and plead for help. (This is my favourite way of getting around a problematic case!) This is where we honed our deductive skills, traditional Chinese medicine style. A patient might present with a complicated set of symptoms (e.g. psoriasis together with IBS, back pain and ulcer), and unlike Western medicine which sees the diseases as separate conditions, Chinese medicine can see these symptoms in their entirety and make a diagnosis that pulls everything together.
After three years of Chinese medicine theory, language and history, Western anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology, and lots of clinic hours, you can get to a point where the language is not so strange, the theory starts to make sense, and you can prescribe acupuncture points for that patient at that particular time. It will be a completely unique set of acupoints -- because tomorrow that same patient will report slightly different symptoms, your diagnosis will be slightly different, and your acupuncture treatment will follow suit. The ultimate personalised medicine!
Some of my cohort will graduate this summer. Some of us will stay for another year, undertake independent research and write a dissertation. But all of us embark on a lifetime of independent study into more, more, more Chinese medicine please.