Naturopathic medicine is part of the fast-growing natural health industry. Career opportunities are on the rise and an ND degree offers great flexibility in the types of jobs you can choose. Deciding to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine is a personal decision and an investment not only in yourself, but your professional direction as well. There are many components that go into deciding if integrative medicine is best for you. Today, we discuss the top five reasons naturopathic medicine is leading the way in the future of health care.
1. Flexibility of ND degree career options
The ND job growth rate is expected to continue at an almost steady 10% per year. Why you may ask? Naturopathic Medicine is a thriving field because of the wide array of available career opportunities. If you have a knack for administrative or a passion for entrepreneurial work, or maybe a combination of both, NDs can easily weave those passions together. With a vast skill set, NDs have the opportunity to create a career path as unique as them.
2. Increasingly, patients want to address the root cause of health issues, versus solely symptom management
When you visit the doctor you expect to receive treatment for your symptoms but more importantly, you want to know why you are sick. What’s wrong with me? Why now? Why did this illness start? Getting to the root of the problem and understanding where the issue developed is a huge factor into why so many seek out naturopathic medicine. Patients want to know the underlying cause for their condition, and if there is a way that they can treat the symptom or illness naturally. According to the CDC, half of all adults (117 million) have one or more chronic health issues, and 1 in 4 adults have two or more chronic health conditions. Chronic health issues can take a huge toll on your longevity and quality of life. With the rise in chronic health issues, patients see naturopathic medicine as a way to be involved with their healthcare, working with their ND as an educator and mentor in living healthier, more natural lives. They see hope for the reversal of or decrease in symptoms from chronic disease and the chance to not rely on medication for a life-long diagnosis.
3. Increasing demand and growth in natural health
You’ve probably noticed an increase in health foods in your local grocery store. The natural approach to healthcare is becoming more and more prevalent and natural product sales have doubled in the last ten years. In 2012, 33.2% of U.S. adults used complementary health approaches. The most commonly used complementary approach was natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals). 17.7% of adults and 4.9% of children age 4 to 17 used natural products
4. Patients value the doctor-patient relationship
Trust is a key component to any relationship. So why would that be any different with your doctor? Naturopathic doctors take time to get to know their whole patient, understanding that things like psychological health, sleep, stress and the environment are core factors to overall health. The initial visit with an ND is typically 1.5 – 2 hours and allows the naturopathic doctor to fully gather the patient’s unique story. In doing so, NDs expand patient choice of treatment whether that be a whole body approach, natural therapies, clinical nutrition, behavioral medicine, individualized care, or integrative partnerships with other healthcare professionals. With a person-centered holistic approach to treatment, patients are able to treat their whole body and improve quality of life, not just mitigate the symptoms presented. Naturopathic doctors see themselves as teachers, empowering patients through education to help the body heal itself.
5. Work-life balance as an ND
Prospective students are drawn to the ND career path for its flexibility and work-life balance. When personal values align with professional values, you never have to work a day in your life! Many NDs enjoy the flexibility of setting their own hours and being their own boss through private practice or owning their own businesses.
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