Current New Graduate Mentee: Kelly Allan giving her elevator introduction in a recent New Grad mentoring session
The fabulous Nina, one of our behind-the-scenes-dream-team & early career nat, said, ‘During our training and early in our career it’s like we don’t “see” the Generalists. We’re only aware of the ‘rockstars’ in our profession and they are all specialists in IVF, vaginal microbiomes or gut ones. So we end up thinking, to be any good you’re going to have to specialise’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but imagine if we only ever had the option of seeing a specialist?’
You’ve been experiencing a bit of gut stuff – and rather than being able to bounce this off a generalist you have to go ‘straight to the top of gastroenterology’ – wait in line for your time, pay the big bucks etc to get their thoughts. But really it was only ‘a bit of gut stuff’ and perhaps all this was over-kill?
And next month when you’re reminded of your repro issues, you have to get in line for your time with another specialist – this time for women’s health! But had there have been a generalist, with lower level knowledge in both areas, you could have just had both attended to (more than) adequately in a one-stop shop!
Now in integrative medicine, of course, compared with conventional, we rebel against compartmentalisation, so whichever integrative specialist you see, they should still be practising holistically & have knowledge and skills outside of their specialty but I think the analogy still works. For those nats/nuts and herbalists that do specialise then, they need to become ‘generalist-specialists’ in a way. I know this from my high-level specialist friends. They effectively tell me that they have to know everything about their area of expertise and then everything about everything else that will at some time come up also in these patients! But if new graduates are encouraged, or under the belief that they need, to specialise immediately how do they get then the necessary breadth of experience and this generalist knowledge and skills? The nominal number of clients they see in student clinic ain’t enough.
Most of us live in dread of someone presenting with 9 failed IVF cycles, antibodies to their partner’s sperm and a ‘hostile’ vaginal dysbiosis BUT we don’t need to – we can send them to the ‘rockstars’. But these patients are not, in fact, representative of our bread & butter patients who want help just with preconception, or pregnancy nutrition, or need some support through early parenting with emerging child health concerns, or with ageing, or with peri-menopause, or with their husband’s cholesterol or or or…
When we kicked off this conversation last week, it got a lot of people talking and I was not surprised to hear many of you have similar sentiments. And can I also just say…being a generalist is not just something you do early in your career while you’re waiting for your specialty to make itself apparent! Some of the most exceptional & experienced practitioners I know have been seeing everyone and everything since they first opened their doors and continue to do so and love it! Not naming any names… Catherine Lilburn, Stacey Curcio, Sonya Cacciotti, Tabitha McIntosh, Amanda Mullemeister, Kaye Wright, Jayne Sharpham, Hannah Boyd, Maria Harpas, Sophie & Belinda at North East Natural Health Centre Kylie Robshaw…how much time have you got?…this is going to be a VERY long list….💎💪🤓
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for everything you have done over the last year during the grad mentoring programme. It has been such a great experience and absolutely the best professional development investment I’ve made. (Have been singing your praises to all the final year students!” Emma Gardiner (NZ)
“Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for everything you’ve done this year. The new graduate course was extremely beneficial and has given me the confidence boost and kickstart I need.
I’m sure this isn’t the end of my journey with you guys, but just wanted to say a big thank you and show my appreciation for the time and effort you put in.” Kristen Ellis (Melbourne)
“Thanks Rachel. I’m finding all of the little tips (that you might not even be aware that you are giving) during the zoom sessions are all helpful. I feel like I’m developing in tiny onion layers since graduation and seeing patients. Each little tip or comment adds something to the picture of knowledge that already exists or explains something that I understand to a degree but is still a little foggy but now has a connector. Love it!” Bek Di Mauro (Adelaide)
Keen but got questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and ensure our New Grads Program is the best fit for you!