Acupuncturist – Caroline Purdy

Stan T.

Day in the life of
Acupuncturist – Caroline Purdy

Caroline Purdy
Autonomic Acupuncture

As an acupuncturist, my days tend to vary. Most acupuncturists don’t work 5 days a week in their clinic, usually it’s 2 or 3. Personally, I work 2 days in a private clinic treating patients, and 2 days working at a major healthcare clinic that specializes in fertility and IVF.

Private clinic

When I am at the private clinic, I typically start the day by setting up the office to receive patients, which includes checking that we have enough supplies, (needles, cotton, and other tools we use in our treatments) and preparing the beds, and creating the atmosphere with music. I check the charts of the patients coming in that shift, so I can prepare myself to know what they are coming in for. Most people don’t know, but acupuncture can treat a wide variety of ailments: from sports injuries and back pain, to fertility, gastrointestinal issues, and general stress and anxiety.

Soon after I arrive, patients come in for their appointments and I bring them into the treatment room. In addition to hearing about what they are coming in for, I also ask them a series of questions that may come across as unrelated to their chief complaint. That’s because in acupuncture (Chinese Medicine) we see the body as a whole and believe that most issues arise from some deeper underlying imbalance in the body. We take your pulse and look at the tongue, as well because it gives us a more “objective” view of what’s going on, other than what the patient tells us. After we needle the patient and they rest while they are in, I fill in their chart, noting what they said and writing down what points I used and if I did anything else (massage or cupping, etc.)

When the patient’s treatment is over, I check them out, have them pay, and make another appointment for the next week. We take insurance at the clinic, but checking the patients plans and submitting claims to the insurance company is something we hire outside people to do.

Once the day is over and I finish with the patients for the day, I shut down the office, cleaning up trash and washing and disinfecting any tools that touched the patients. Then I turn off the lights, lock the door and head out for the day.

Fertility clinic

On the days I go to the fertility clinic, I arrive and change into scrubs. I work with another acupuncturist at the same time, and we each set up our trays and go over the list of patients that are coming in for treatment that day. These patients are all new to us each week, as they are only coming in for embryo transfers. We work with a team of doctors, embryologists, nurses, and nursing assistants to help make the patient’s transfer successful and comfortable. As acupuncturists, we treat them before and after the transfer. The pace is pretty fast so one has to be present constantly. There isn’t much time in between patients besides bathroom breaks or snack breaks.

Once we’ve treated all of the patients, we clean and disinfect the tools we used and then move on to entering our information into the patient’s hospital chart, so that the doctors and their team have a whole view of what was done to the patient. Then once the paperwork is done and the sanitized tools are put back where they are supposed to be, I change out of my scrubs and head home.


You get to work in a rewarding field where you interact with people one on one. It is such a joy to see and hear from patients about how my work has improved their quality of life. The work is dynamic because you’re not sitting behind a desk everyday. Instead, you’re constantly on the move and thinking on your toes. As someone who works as an independent contractor, my schedule is different, but I can take off days when I need to without having to go through a boss.


The life of an independent contractor can be hard and stressful. If you don’t work that day, you don’t get paid. And, as someone who works on their own, we don’t get health insurance and if we are sick, there is usually no one to cover us. It’s very hard to have a bad day and come into work because we give so much emotionally to our patients and it’s important to compartmentalize anything going on in our personal lives to protect the patient’s own energy. It can also be physically taxing since we are mostly on our feet the whole time and we use our hands to do things besides needling like massage.

There is also a lot besides treating patients you have to do: it’s a business so you’ve got to keep up with financials and supplies as well and do marketing and publicity. We may only work a few days a week, but the rest of the time is spent managing what you need to maintain patients and the business. Also, if you’re in private practice and you don’t have patients for a while, it can get lonely and even boring, because you are all alone.

Caroline Purdy
Autonomic Acupuncture
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provide treatment of symptoms and disorders using needles and small electrical currents. May provide massage treatment. May also provide preventive treatments.

Salary: $218850
Salary Rank: A
Education: Master's degree
Becoming One: Very Hard
Job Satisfaction: Very High
Job Growth: Average
Suitable Personality: The Helper