Thursday, May 20, 2010

NPLEX Nastalgia

As Dr. Anderson's Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) prep course wrapped up here at CCNM for the 2nd year students, I clearly remembered last summer and a small part of me wished I could do it all again. Even though some of the same material was tested in my undergraduate, after 2 months of extensively studying the basic medical sciences, last summer was the 1st time I really felt like I knew what I was taking about!

In fact, last summer's studying was the highlight of my naturopathic journey until I entered clinic this May. I was my own boss, I could build up my weaker areas and dig deep into the areas that interested me the most.

Some words for the wise. If you are writing NPLEX 1 this summer (I write NPLEX 2 after graduation in August 2011), remember that no matter which one of the accredited schools you are in, the curriculum only sets a foundation to learn from. The exams are much, much more detailed and require extensive self study. The areas of anatomy, microbiology, immunology, food metabolism and pathophysiology are foundational to naturopathic primary care doctors and are one of the things that separate the accredited schools from the unaccredited schools.

Since the NPLEX format changed in August of 2009, there has been a heavy weighting on pathophysiology. Therefore a good pathophys textbook is a necessity. As a visual learner, another one of my favorite books is, "Metabolism at a Glance" by J.G. Salway (third ed). I also took Dr. Anderson's (systems based and focused more on Nutritional Biochemistry) & Dr. Grossman's (focused more on Anatomy & Microbiology) courses and enjoyed both. However, they are intended to remind you of the breadth of information required to know and indicate areas where you need extra studying. Furthermore, keep in mind that these review courses can not teach at the depth of knowledge required to pass NPLEX 1.

Just 3 study tips:

1. If possible with your school's schedule, take at least 2 weeks off after your final exams before starting to study for NPLEX 1.
2. Slowly build up to 8 hours of studying per day and take Sundays off to rest your brain (try for a minimum of 6 weeks of studying).
3. Take the day before the exam off completely. The NPLEX is a mental marathon, and like any athlete who has peaked for a performance, you need to rest the day before.

All the best!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New Leaf

Today we completed the first of two days of clinic orientation. While biking to school this morning, the routine was so familiar, and our final exam marathon still so fresh in my mind, that I did not feel ready to be back at school. However, after the morning introductions, I realized that although the setting was the same, everything was different now. We are not only students, we are now health care providers. In fact, we were informed that 44% of the patients that visit the clinic here at CCNM reported that their ND intern was their primary health care provider. What a phenomenal responsibility!

We are turing over a brand new leaf in our journey. I understand that we are forever students and our next step is a 12 month long internship with 1035 clinical hours, case management documents, competency checks, more assignments, and still a few required classes. Even so, our focus has now shifted from excelling in class and passing exams to getting people to feel better. And, they do! We were shown some encouraging data that CCNM is accumulating, which reinforces what we all have known to be true: naturopathic medicine helps many people.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quote of the Month

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are."

Adelle Davis