Updated: Dec 6, 2019
I am 100% a believer in collaborating with other practitioners. It is necessary to ensure that patients get the best possible results in regards to their health. I understand that there is pull-back from both sides however. It seems that many naturopathic doctors in my generation believe that it is all the medical profession that refuses to work with naturopaths. I have, however, heard of instances where some older naturopaths contradict everything that the medical practitioner says and dismisses their diagnoses. In this case, I can understand why medical practitioners are so hesitant. They are being disrespected by another professional when they, too have done 4+ years of schooling to learn how to treat the human body. Yes, there are some flaws on both sides, but that is why working together is so important. By collaborating – and having mutual respect for each other’s method – then gaps can be filled and individuals can get the best care possible. Collaborative care is made to be patient-centred. With this statement, I get a little confused, because ALL medicine should be patient-centred, no matter if it is independent or collaborative.
At the moment, I think the best way to enter into collaborative care is to work in multi-disciplinary institutes, like hospitals. There are so many departments that naturopaths are not exposed to that I can see would merit some benefits with this other perspective. Personally, I would like to work with neuromuscular disorders, and there are not many studies done in this field with naturopathic medicine. However, in the research world of medicine, neurodegenerative diseases and neuroplasticity is quickly growing. I can only imagine how many more advancements to people’s quality of life could be unveiled if the other healthcare providers and researchers collaborated with naturopathic medicine.
As soon as I accepted my admission to this school, I became an advocate for this profession and I am proud to speak on its behalf. My professors keep saying that our Naturopathic Doctor hat will be on forever as soon as we graduate, but in actuality, I think it is on now; as long as I continue on with this program, into graduation and well after, I have become a member of an exclusive club that wants to go public and be internationally known. My job – on top of whatever I actually decide to do with my degree, whether it is practicing, research, product development or whatever – will be to do my part in getting that word out. I will also remember that I am not alone in this feat. Every member of this club has their part and we can work together towards the hopes of having a new modern view of healthcare that includes conventional as well as natural ways of practicing. Both medicine practices have their strengths; working together will only highlight them further.
Above all else, we need to make sure to be respectful and use the right wording when communicating with medical doctors. Although naturopathic medicine is forever growing, it is still not “mainstream medicine”. We will need the help of medical professionals in networking and getting referrals. As long as we stay respectful of what they are doing as well as having our own, educated voice, collaboration is possible and the growth of integrated and collaborative care is in our future.
Keep moving and be well!