Naturopathic residency opportunities are expanding for ND graduates. Here are a few things to consider when applying to be a naturopathic resident.

 

Why complete an ND residency?

  • Sharpen your clinical skills as a naturopathic doctor
  • Gain confidence and increased competency in a specific area of care
  • Pursue a career as a naturopathic educator
  • May be invited or offered to join the practice as associate
  • Gain a real world understanding of running a successful practice, to later perhaps start your own
  • To make yourself more marketable join other practices

Thinking of applying?

It’s never too soon to begin fostering mentorship and educational relationships. Here are a few steps successful students take.

  • Check out existing and prior residency sites. Contact residency locations you may be interested in and see if they accept preceptors.
  • Seek out your own opportunities. Do you have a specific area of care you are interested in? A geographic location you are set on moving to? If so, looking up conventional and naturopathic doctors who fit that bill is another option. If they are not an existing participating site, they would need to apply. Here’s how.
  • Begin to foster academic and clinical relationships that you can tap for references. You will need at least three when applying.
  • Start your application early – remember, soliciting references, writing personal statements and gathering some of the background materials takes time. The deadline is sharp. Know it and plan accordingly.

“The best applicant is well-rounded and one that was involved in different aspects of school throughout their time as a student. A strong applicant participates in research, shows leadership by joining a club, experiences a teaching role, and partakes in a variety of specialty shifts as a student clinician.”

Taelor Steen, ND

Resident, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

When contacting existing or new potential sites, here are a few helpful tips.

  • Be professional in all interactions. Your interview starts from the moment you contact them.
  • Be clear on your strengths and how you can add value to their team. Remember, while this is an educational experience for you, it needs to be a good fit in both directions.
  • If you receive an interview, check out these tips to prepare.

Interview Tips from Residency Sites and Interviewers

  • Make a great first impression. Be professional in all encounters. Respond promptly to all contacts. Know that your interactions with other applicants and office staff may be used in your evaluation.
  • Arriving on time is actually being late. Plan out travel ahead of time and budget extra time to ensure you are early.
  • Do your homework. Research the clinic and doctors, talk to prior residents if applicable, and know to the best of your ability what they are looking for in a good culture and clinical fit.
  • The interview goes both ways. How will this residency help propel your career as an ND to the next level? What is it you need out of the experience to be educationally meaningful? This doesn’t give you latitude to be demanding – but is a good guide to make sure that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
  • Prepare a few questions ahead of time, as well as thoughtful responses to any anticipated tough questions. And rehearse – but not too much. Also – know your application cold – and be prepared to respond to all details within it.
  • Be prepared to answer common clinical questions.
  • When answering interview questions, and asked to reflect on your background experience, make sure that this is consistent with your resume.
  • Be clear on the parameters of the job description. This includes knowing call expectations, patient load, vacation/benefits, salary, and contract details like non-compete clauses.
  • Put your phone away. Do not take it out during any portion of the interview day. Show you are present and excited for the opportunity.
  • Send thank you notes to the program coordinators and doctors you interacted with.

What Current Residents Say!

“Residency has been an incredible opportunity to further my learning in a supportive environment, helping me solidify my skills, build confidence and grow as a physician. I am grateful and humbled to learn from and work alongside some of the best physicians in the field.”

Berlin Wright, ND

Resident, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

“Residencies provide the tools for new graduates to become well-rounded practitioners and succeed as future naturopathic physicians. You’ll never know everything, nor should you be expected to know it all – especially as a resident. At first, I was scared to admit when I didn’t know the answer. Now, I’ve become more comfortable with uncertainty and taking time to find the information I need to make educated clinical decisions.”

Kendall Smith, ND

Resident, Bastyr University, San Diego

“Medical school gave me the basic building blocks, the foundation, and the passion for naturopathic medicine; my residency gives me the opportunity, the confidence, the experience, and, above all, the mentorship I need to actually be a successful physician. I am astounded at how quickly I have stepped into my role as a doctor, and, although I don’t always know what to do, I am so much more confident in my knowledge. Furthermore, any time I don’t know what to do, I simply walk down the hall and ask for help from docs with decades of experience. In addition, I am learning what it takes to run a clinic from the inside out, under the tutelage of my residency site director and her incredible team.”

Kathryn Hightower, ND

Resident, Emerald City Naturopathic Clinic

“Residency was an amazing learning experience which allowed me to further my education and be exposed to cases that I may have not seen otherwise. My clinical knowledge has grown immensely throughout my time as a resident.”

Taelor Steen, ND

Resident, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

If you want the opportunity to work with patients in hands-on clinical settings, click here to learn more about naturopathic residencies.

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