TCM Clinical Training
In-depth clinical training comprises approximately one-third of the Masters/Doctoral curriculum, preparing you to practice the theoretical knowledge you gained in the classroom. Throughout the program, starting in your first semester, you will observe a faculty-practitioner diagnosing and treating patients. In your last year, you will diagnose and treat patients with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and other methods of the five branches, under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The Five Branches medical centers in Santa Cruz and San Jose assist over 160 patients a day, allowing you to work with highly skilled faculty in a busy clinical environment and to gain hands-on experience with patients. By the end of clinical training, you will have performed at least 350 patient treatments, a basic requirement for graduation.

Joanna Zhao, L.Ac.

Department Chair
Course TitleCodeUnitsHours
[Required Courses]
Beginning Clinical TheaterFCL 1001.545
Clinical TheaterFCL 200 1.545
Clinical RoundsFCL 300390
Clinical Internship RoundsFCL 400 9.0270
Clinical Grand RoundsFCL 7201.545
Clinical Integrative Intern TheaterFCL 750 1.545
Clinical InternshipFCL 800 15450

Beginning Clinical Theater

FCL 100
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In Beginning Clinical Theater, newly enrolled students receive a comprehensive introduction and orientation to the clinic’s protocols on patient care, safety, herb formula preparation and patient records. This is students’ first opportunity to see how TCM theory and practice are combined. In each class, scheduled patients are interviewed, diagnosed and treated by faculty, as students observe. Following each patient’s intake, diagnosis and treatment, a general forum-discussion of the patient’s case is conducted. Students begin learning professional conduct within this clinical setting: how to take a patient’s medical history, and how to create and maintain patient records. Students observe all aspects of treating patients as a TCM professional, including diagnostic data gathering, syndrome identification, treatment planning, herb prescription formulation, and acupuncture needling techniques. Students also participate in the preparation of herbal formulas.

Prerequisite:
None

Clinical Theater

FCL 200
1.5 Units 45 Hours

This class is a continuation of Beginning Clinical Theater. Conducted in a classroom setting, students will have the opportunity to see how TCM theory and practice are combined. In each class, scheduled patients are interviewed, diagnosed and treated by faculty as students observe. Following each patient’s intake, diagnosis and treatment, a general forum-discussion of the patient’s case is conducted. Students begin learning professional conduct within this clinical setting: how to take a patient’s medical history, and how to create and maintain patient records. Students observe all aspects of treating patients as a TCM professional, including diagnostic data gathering, syndrome identification, treatment planning, herb prescription formulation, and acupuncture needling techniques. Students also participate in the preparation of herbal formulas.

Prerequisite:
FCL 100, Beginning Clinical Theater

Clinical Rounds

FCL 300
3 Units 90 Hours

Clinical Rounds provides students with experience in observing and assisting licensed faculty practitioners in interviewing, diagnosing and treating patients. In Rounds, four to five students follow a practitioner, treating patients in the school’s teaching clinic. Students participate in taking and recording a patient’s history and exam. Students take the patient’s pulses and observe the patient’s tongue to understand the instructor’s diagnosis, choice of acupuncture treatment and herbal prescription. This close assistantship is invaluable in the study of TCM. Students will learn how to fill an herbal prescription from the clinic’s pharmacy and give patients instructions regarding its preparation and use. Students are evaluated on their knowledge and their developing patient skills.

Prerequisite:
FCL 200, Clinical Theater

Clinical Internship Rounds

FCL 400
9.0 Units 270 Hours

In Clinical Internship Rounds, students advance to hands-on treatments in a clinical setting under the direct supervision of a licensed practitioner. A small, intimate group of students attend to the patient’s intake and treatment with constant monitoring by a licensed faculty supervisor, who develops a diagnosis and treatment strategy. Students will learn to treat patients with a variety of TCM modalities, and prepare formulas or prescribe patent herbs, under the direct supervision of a licensed faculty supervisor. Clinical Internship Rounds is designed to provide a setting for the students to develop comprehensive clinical skills in preparation for Internship.

Prerequisite:
FCL 300, Clinical Rounds; CNT: Clean Needle Technique; CPR/First Aid | Concurrent enrollment in FRA 440, Assessment I

Clinical Grand Rounds

FCL 720
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In a group setting, Grand Rounds offers interns an opportunity to present their difficult cases to one or more senior TCM faculty for feedback and assistance. Interns present their patient’s history, signs and symptoms, diagnoses and treatments, and discuss and explore the case with the faculty member and other interns in order to develop new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of the patient.

Prerequisite:
Current enrollment in FCL 800, Clinical Internship

Clinical Integrative Intern Theater

FCL 750
1.5 Units 45 Hours

A member of the Western faculty and the TCM faculty supervise interns in this integrative setting. In rotating groups of three, interns will perform the history and relevant examination of a patient from both Western and Eastern perspectives, and develop an assessment and plan from each perspective. The diagnosis and the plan will be evaluated and discussed. A second group of students will perform the Eastern treatment and carry out and make appropriate recommendations for the Western treatment with the exclusion of administering medications.

Prerequisite:
FCL 400, Clinical Internship Rounds

Clinical Internship

FCL 800
15 Units 450 Hours

Clinical training at Five Branches University culminates with Clinical Internship. Clinical Internship is designed to simulate an actual clinical environment, in which students diagnose, treat and develop long-range treatment goals and plans for their patients. Interns work independently under a licensed clinical faculty supervisor who is there to answer questions and provide recommendations and support as needed. Clinical Internship imparts the ultimate clinical educational condition for students, in which autonomy with patients is supported by the guidance and wisdom of experienced licensed faculty members. Students will be able, upon licensure, to treat patients unsupervised with confidence and expertise.

Prerequisite:
FCL 400, Clinical Internship Rounds; Co-requisite: Concurrent enrollment in FRA 770, Assessment II
 

Electives

The following electives may be taken as part of MTCM clinical training, while also completing the requirements for each certificate program. For detailed information about these certificates please refer to Specialty Certificate Options. Electives are offered based on faculty availability and student interest.
Course TitleCodeUnitsHours
[Elective Courses]
Sports Medicine Clinical RoundsFCL 3001.545
Sports Medicine Clinical InternshipFCL 8001.545
Five Element Clinical RoundsFCL 3001.545
Five Element Clinical Internship RoundsFCL 4003.096
Five Element Clinical InternshipFCL 8001.545
Medical Qigong Clinical Internship RoundsFCL 4002.2572
TCM Tuina Massage Clinical Internship RoundsFCL 4001.545
TCM Tuina Massage Clinical InternshipFCL 8001.545

Sports Medicine Clinical Rounds

FCL 300
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In this specialized clinical training course, you will observe senior practitioners in clinic as they apply acupuncture, Chinese medicinal herbs, and Tuina massage to a broad spectrum of patients with sports injury-related conditions.

Prerequisite:
None

Sports Medicine Clinical Internship

FCL 800
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In this final stage of clinical training, you will gain the skills to diagnose and treat patients, applying classical and specialized acupuncture and herbal formula treatment plans for a variety of sports injuries, utilizing Western medical examination and diagnostic techniques when appropriate.

Prerequisite:
None

Five Element Clinical Rounds

FCL 300
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In this clinical training course, you will observe senior practitioners in clinic as they apply Five Element theory, energetics, and point selection to a broad spectrum of patients, gaining an understanding of the principles of Five Element Acupuncture as applied in a clinical setting.

Prerequisite:
None

Five Element Clinical Internship Rounds

FCL 400
3.0 Units 96 Hours

In Clinical Internship Rounds, you will diagnose and treat patients in a clinical setting under the direct supervision of a senior practitioner. You will learn to treat patients with a variety of conditions using Five Element theory, energetics, and point selection.

Prerequisite:
None

Five Element Clinical Internship

FCL 800
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In this final stage of clinical training, you will be assigned your own patients and conduct intake, diagnosis and treatment under the direct supervision of a clinical supervisor.

Prerequisite:
None

Medical Qigong Clinical Internship Rounds

FCL 400
2.25 Units 72 Hours

Conducted in a small class setting, Clinical Internship Rounds provides you with exposure and first-hand experience with Medical Qigong diagnosis and treatment. In this hands-on clinical training course you will learn and experience the different aspects of energetic dysfunction and symptom manifestation. Through the careful guidance of the instructor, you will assist in all phases of diagnosis and treatment.

Prerequisite:
None

TCM Tuina Massage Clinical Internship Rounds

FCL 400
1.5 Units 45 Hours

In this specialized clinical training course, you will practice a broad spectrum of applications of Tuina massage with patients in a clinical setting under the direct supervision of a senior practitioner.

Prerequisite:
None

TCM Tuina Massage Clinical Internship

FCL 800
1.5 Units 45 Hours

A continuation of the theoretical and practical aspects of Tuina massage, this clinical training course provides you with the opportunity to work with your own patients, practicing what you have learned in class and observed in clinic, under the direct supervision of a senior practitioner.

Prerequisite:
None
 

Clinical Training in Asia

Students may choose to complete up to 25% of their clinical training in the affiliated hospitals of our five sister colleges in China, Taiwan and Korea. For further details, please refer to Study in Asia.

Community Externships

Up to 25% of your clinical training hours may be completed through an externship. The diverse externships we offer allow you to become exposed to different patient populations, treat a wide variety of conditions, and explore new fields of specialization. Offered in a broad range of settings, our community externships provide you with valuable hands-on clinical experience in a private practice, community clinic, or integrative medical environment. Community externship opportunities include working with senior citizens, veterans of war, mental health patients, those struggling with substance abuse, and treating individuals in a community clinic setting. The following community externships are currently available:

Highland Hospital

A leading community hospital in Oakland, the Highland Hospital (www.highlandahs.org) offers students, together with Western medical students, an opportunity to follow medical doctors and licensed acupuncturists in an outpatient and inpatient environment. Five Branches students learn the protocols of a modern community hospital, an invaluable experience after graduation. Students may enroll in one trimester or up to a year of hospital residency.

Janus

Since its founding in 1976, Janus has successfully assisted thousands of individuals in their efforts against chemical dependency. In this clinical setting, you will have the opportunity to become proficient using the National Acupuncture Detoxification (NADA) protocol as an integral part of chemical dependency treatment and recovery. For more information about NADA go to www.acudetox.com.

Mental Health Client Action Network

The Mental Health Client Action Network (MHCAN) is a valuable community service, helping adults with mental illness to live without crisis. The MHCAN drop-in center receives 12,000 visits annually from approximately 600 mental health clients. They lobby for improved health care, and affordable independent housing. MHCAN clients demonstrate that people with serious mental illness can work, go to school, maintain stable housing, and help their peers do the same.

Veteran’s Clinic

You will be treating veterans of all ages with a host of complaints, primarily chronic and long- term health issues. While primary care is often provided by the Veterans’ Administration, you may also be treating homeless and drug addicted veterans. In this clinical setting, you will have the opportunity to use acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although this externship does not provide the capacity to make herbal formulas on site, you will be expected to recommend formulas to your patients when appropriate. This externship is offered at both the Santa Cruz and San Jose campuses.

Community Clinic

In a community clinic group setting, you will have the opportunity to provide donation-based Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments to low income patients. You will experience how acupuncture is commonly practiced in China, providing acupuncture, Tuina massage, or herbal medicine treatments in a group setting, in short 15-30 minute intervals. By offering this affordable service, clients can receive acupuncture treatments more frequently to improve their health and well-being.

Akiyama Wellness Center

Akiyama Wellness Center is part of Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service Center. Akiyama provides wellness programs to their senior members, including acupuncture, yoga, and Taiji classes. The treatment setting at Akiyama is community room style. Interns are required to see patients on a pre-scheduled basis. Although this externship does not provide the capacity to make herbal formulas on site, you will be expected to recommend formulas to your patients when appropriate.  

Clinical Private Externships

Multiple off-campus externships are offered by TCM practitioners located throughout California. In a clinical private externship you will work alongside the practitioner through a normal day’s activities as well as assist with client treatments. You will have the opportunity to learn about the specializations they offer and to gain hands-on experience working in a private-practice environment.  

Community Events

Five Branches University students participate in a Career Development Fair prior to the completion of their Doctor’s/Master’s degree. This requirement is fulfilled through a community health fair or a classroom outreach event where students demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of TCM to inform and recruit new patients. Often, these events address the needs of low income or otherwise disenfranchised groups in communities throughout the Bay Area. These events are always free to the public, and are just a small representation of the philanthropic efforts that Five Branches engages in throughout each academic year.  

International Externships

You may choose to study in Asia to experience the authentic practice of TCM integrated with modern Western medicine. Our relationship with five universities in China, Korea and Taiwan provide you with the opportunity to learn TCM from highly knowledgeable doctors and clinical experts, to receive training.