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.

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