“There are many aspects of the profession that I love, but I think the amount of educating I get to do as a Naturopathic Doctor sticks out to me the most.”
There was an unusual impetus that inspired Dr. Alexandra Power to start down her path to becoming a Naturopathic Doctor—a Robin Williams movie. “I first thought about becoming a doctor after watching the movie ‘Patch Adams’ as a child, and the desire just grew from there.” That film, about a doctor who uses the healing power of humor to help his patients was enough to encourage that young girl into becoming the accomplished ND that she is today.
What finally sealed the deal to put her on this path was a chance encounter with an ND to deal with a few chronic health issues of her own. Once she saw how much personal interaction she could have with patients, Dr. Power realized that going into naturopathic medicine was the best choice for her.
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
As a high school student, Dr. Power was under the impression that she wanted to become a pediatrician, so she volunteered in a pediatric hospital unit. As happens for many in this type of setting, she found that the reality of the job did not match her perceptions, and she was left somewhat disillusioned with the profession: “Something wasn’t right for me…I wanted to spend lots of time with my patients, and I wanted to look at their health from a more holistic and preventative viewpoint.” This, coupled with the grueling shift work medical doctors endure turned her away from the profession.
But a visit to a naturopathic doctor for her own health issues reignited her passion to become a doctor. She says that after the initial consult, she was hooked and knew becoming an ND was the path for her. “I loved that I would get to spend an hour with my patients on their first visit, and delve into everything that may be contributing to the symptoms they are experiencing.” From there, she tailored her University courses towards this goal.
Boucher as a springboard
When she began her naturopathic medicine studies, Dr. Power decided on Boucher for two main reasons: location and size. Boucher was close to her home and she knew the challenging curriculum would go much easier if she stayed near her support system of family and friends. But the other thing that sold her on Boucher was the “small class sizes and community feel.” She adds that she loved getting to know her professors and having the opportunity for one-on-one time which made Boucher a better fit than a larger school.
In addition to this, she attributes part of her success at Boucher with her networking abilities. “Every time a professor or guest lecturer put out an offer to meet up with students to talk about the profession…I took them up on it.” She also got out to conferences, asked plenty of questions, and helped form relationships within the profession. This attitude helped earn her multiple job offers even before she graduated.
“Living the dream” after graduation
Dr. Power had a significant support system in the ND program with her—her future husband Dr. Rory Gibbons. “When we were done [with] board and licensing exams, we got married and honeymooned in Europe for a post-graduation celebration!” This was the perfect way to rest, relax and recharge after finishing such a demanding educational program. Once she returned home, she began working at the clinic where she is currently employed.
Finding fulfillment as an ND
Today, Dr. Power works in North Vancouver at Restoration Health Clinic. “The mentor that I hunted down during school owns the clinic and focuses her practice on women and children—which is exactly what I want my practice to look like.” She currently works three days a week at the clinic and then uses the rest of her time to “set up meetings in the area to get my name out there, do patient research, catch up on emails, prepare presentations, schedule social media posts, and more!” It is the flexibility of the profession that has allowed her to do all of this and still find time to spend with her husband and friends exploring local trails and cycling.
Advice for aspiring NDs
For those who are considering the profession, Dr. Power suggests that you do your homework. Specifically, she suggests that you “reach out to naturopathic doctors in your area and see if they would be willing to meet up and answer questions.” In addition, she also suggests that aspiring NDs talk to clinics in their area and find out about volunteer opportunities, so that you can “get a good taste of what the field is like.” You can also visit the ND schools you are considering and spend time observing classes. Anything that you can do to find out about the profession will help you to be successful in the future.