The first major difference between my consults and regular medical consults is that my visits are longer than the average 15 minutes spent with your medical doctor. Each visit slot lasts for 45 minutes, and new patients are seen over a 90 minute period. This allows me to really listen and put several pieces of the puzzle together instead of seeing you for just one concern.
The second major difference is that I spend about 90 minutes every day researching cases and preparing for visits to come. Sometimes an individual case can take over an hour to prepare. (This can be why I charge a late cancellation fee; I promise it's not to be mean.) I see a wide variety of conditions and evidence-based practices are ever-changing. Because I don't usually see clients for only one concern, it's important I review all the details since our last visit and try to put the whole puzzle together. (I'm quite introverted, so it's easier for me to think and assimilate information when I'm alone, which is another reason I prepare ahead of time).
I recently made several schedule changes at my practice. While I'm still transitioning between the old schedule and the new schedule, I'd like to share what a typical week looks like for me, just in case you want to know what I do when I'm not seeing clients.
Over the weekend, I organize and prepare for the week ahead. I'll get started on case preparation and get records ready for scanning. I might also use this time to work on larger projects or do some continuing education.
On a typical day, I rise with a refreshing or warming drink, prayers, and/or meditation. My dog Gilley dutifully follows me in my home office as I start my workday at 6:30 a.m. preparing cases, unless I have to drive into Springfield early. I travel to Springfield 3-4 days a week, which is a 45 minute commute. Those days are filled with client visits and ownership tasks (i.e. meeting with my business advisor or 2BWell group, supporting the people who work for my business, making major business decisions that guide the direction of my practice, and complying with regulations). Rhonda, my nurse, works with me on Fridays, and I have a lot of support I get from the 2BWell front desk. They are a tremendous help to me in supporting the effectiveness of my practice. To accommodate the diverse schedules of my clients, I try to offer visits as early as 8:30 a.m. and as late as 6 p.m. depending on the day in Springfield. I also try to make sure I take time to eat lunch and move my body (preferably as a walk in the park or in a restorative yoga class).
For 2-3 days a week, I work at my home office in Seymour. I'm super excited to begin offering naturopathic retreats at my home office and farm this spring. Clients can also come for their regular consult on these days, particularly if this location is closer for them. For patients that don't want to make the trip to Seymour, this time can also be spent doing phone or e-consults. Wednesday mornings are spent doing accounting, payroll, and taxes, and I catch up with my charting on Wednesday afternoons (alas, a necessary but not very fun task). I've set aside time to work on educational materials (i.e. videos, workshop handouts, writing) or continuing education each month in Seymour, too.
Something new that I'm trying with this schedule is to set aside 4-5 p.m. every workday to return all my quick messages. (Messages requiring more time and research will need to be scheduled as a consult.) If there are more messages than I can respond to in one day, I will do my best to triage concerns based on who called first and the urgency of the message.
Most days, I can prepare dinner at home, play with my dogs, and/or soak in an Epsom salt bath. I like to end the day wrapped up in a good book or naturopathic article. This time is inspiring for me and brings fresh new ideas into my practice and life, along with sweet little inspirations to dream about.
One day and one afternoon a month, I take off to spend the day in nature and enjoying the benefits of some old-fashioned Nature Cure for myself. I love wading in the Ozark creeks or perched at a table doing some Zentangles. With any luck, I'll end the day cocooned in a wet sheet wrap or with my toes wiggling between the herbs in my foot bath.