Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thorough Competency

Over the last three years of writing this blog and speaking with potential students, I have had many people express their fears about the unknown journey into naturopathic medicine. How difficult is the program? Since you learn so many things, is it possible to be effective at anything? Is it really harder than conventional medical school? Do you learn enough science? Is the art of medicine still taught?

I understand where these questions stem from as I certainly had many of them before entering the program. Although there is absolutely no substitute for experience, and everyone’s experience is different, one of my supervisors recently showed us five categories of competencies expected from naturopathic doctors by the American Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). I found it interesting to see AANMC sum up everything we do into 5 areas and I thought I would share them with you.

Here is the Professional Competency Profile of a Naturopathic Doctor:
1. Naturopathic Medical Expert
• Integrate naturopathic philosophy, theory and principles with naturopathic medical knowledge in the care of patients and case management including the assessment, diagnostic and treatment phases.
• Develop, maintain and value a comprehensive knowledge base in naturopathic medicine.
• Conduct an assessment to formulate a naturopathic medical diagnosis.
• Effectively provide and manage patient care.
2. Naturopathic Manager
• Develop and maintain relationships in practice and the community consistent with the philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine.
• Establish, develop and manage a practice.
• Exhibit strong personal management skills.
3. Naturopathic Professional
• Utilize knowledge of naturopathic history, principles and philosophy to guide professional engagement and development.
• Demonstrate ethics and integrity in professional practice and personal conduct.
• Serve the public through ethical practice, health promotion and disease prevention.
• Ensure professional competence through ongoing self-assessment and professional development.
4. Naturopathic Health Scholar
• Exemplify the principle of doctor as teacher in every patient and public interaction.
• Maintain and enhance professional competence through ongoing learning activities.
• Critically evaluate medical information.
• Educate patients, colleagues, other health-care providers and the public.
• Advance the practice of naturopathic medicine through the development, critical assessment and dissemination of research and information.
5. Naturopathic Health Advocate
• Promote the principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine in advocating for sustainable, healthy environments and lifestyles for patients and society.
• Reflect a knowledge base that enables effective health advocacy.
• Influence others in accepting naturopathic medicine as an essential element in health promotion and disease prevention.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Beginnings

As I came in to the school this week I saw a sea of new faces excitedly awaiting their journey in naturopathic medical school. CCNM is now set to graduate the most students per year of all the accredited naturopathic colleges in North America. I clearly remember how exciting that first month of school was and how it was such a paradigm shift for many people depending on their background. Very soon though, it becomes a lot of stress and an unbelievable amount of work. Even with the added responsibility that comes with treating patients as an intern, I would not trade those 1st year students places for anything!

As the summer comes to a close, it is easy for me to nostalgically look backwards instead of looking forward to the new beginnings I have too. For me, this is the last September I will ever be in school as next year my wife and I will be busy preparing to set up our practice. Also, next Monday the 4th year interns begin a series of new classes (ethics/jurisprudence, practice management, in office procedures) that prepare us to write our final board exams and ultimately for practice. More importantly, the fall brings many new patients to the clinic who either felt better through the warm, sunny months or obligations and distractions delayed them from addressing their health concerns until now.