Is a Career in Naturopathic Medicine Right for You?

November 10, 2015
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Here’s a fact: naturopathic physicians benefit the lives of their patients, and encourage a healthy lifestyle that’s built on the principal belief that wellness is about more than the body; it’s about the mind and soul too. If you believe in conventional medicine, as well as the healing benefits of alternative medicine, you’re the perfect person to explore this growing field.

What Does Naturopathic Doctor Do?

Here’s a fact: naturopathic physicians benefit the lives of their patients, and encourage a healthy lifestyle that’s built on the principal belief that wellness is about more than the body; it’s about the mind and soul too. If you believe in conventional medicine, as well as the healing benefits of alternative medicine, you’re the perfect person to explore this growing field.

What Does Naturopathic Doctor Do?

Above all else, naturopathic doctors believe in addressing the needs of the whole body; not just the physical body, but the mind and spiritualism of the body as well. Like medical doctors, naturopathic doctors are licensed professionals. They attend school to learn how to blend conventional medicine with homeopathic medicine.

According to InnerBody.com, naturopathic doctors are “informed by the philosophy of treating the whole person and not just the symptoms.”

Where Does a Naturopathic Doctor Get a Degree?

Like medical doctors, naturopathic doctors must receiving medical training. Huffington Post contributor and renowned naturopathic doctor, Michael Stanclift, N.D., laments that there are many misconceptions in regards to naturopathic doctors, including misconceptions about education.

Naturopathic doctors are not undereducated; in fact, they must attend an accredited naturopathic medical college and receive, at least a bachelor’s degree. Stanclift reminds readers they must also receive “a competitive GPA in scientific prerequisites, just like applicants to ‘conventional’ medical schools.”

When Does a Naturopathic Doctor Work?

After you’ve graduated, you’ll be ready to join the workforce, but don’t fret about the hours. You’ll be delighted to learn that most naturopathic doctors keep traditional hours (9am – 5pm). There may be some travel involved should you choose to visit your patients in their homes. If you choose to work from your home or a private clinic, the only travel will be to and from these locations.  

Why Would Someone Choose Naturopathic Medicine over Conventional Medicine?

There are five basic tenets of alternative medicine. If you find yourself agreeing with these tenets, than you already understand the power of alternative medicine and therefore would make a great naturopathic doctor.

1. Harmony of the mind, body, and spirit promotes health and wellness, and has the power to prevent illness.

2. Treating only the symptoms of a disease will not cure the disease. A doctor must address the root of an illness, in order to effectively treat it.

3. The cause of illness is an imbalance in the body.

4. People have varying strengths and weaknesses; therefore, all people deserve individualized healthcare.

5. Doctors are educators, and have the power to teach their patients to take better care of themselves; including, helping their patients remove obstacles in their life in order to achieve wellness.

How to Become a Naturopathic Doctor

Obviously an education is your first step in committing to this position. It takes about four years to earn the degree you need to practice as a naturopathic doctor. In school, you’ll learn everything you need to properly assess patients, and engage with them on a deeper level in order to help treat the root of their ailments.  

Once your degree is earned, you’ll need to determine if you prefer to work independently or within a practice of like-minded individuals. You can work in a clinic, hospital, out of your home, or even travel to the homes of your patients.

Keep in mind you’re responsible for your business’s organization. It’s up to you to manage patient care, improve billing, and measure performance. You’ll need computer equipment and software capable of managing your workflow, as well as your clinical accuracy and outcomes. This can be done using software, which includes most of what you’ll need to be an effective naturopathic doctor.

Naturopathic medicine is growing. Currently, there are 16 states and two US territories which accept naturopathic doctors. Other states have not yet allowed licensing for this profession, but as favor for whole body medicine grows, so will the areas that allow you to practice.