“I felt like I found my tribe. The naturopathic doctors were enthusiastic, passionate, and the medicine was exciting.”
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
Dr. Holly Wurtz’s career path was, for all intents and purposes, laser-focused on becoming a medical doctor. With several doctors already in the family, attending conventional medical school seemed the logical choice. But the advice she received from those in her family who were practicing MDs and DOs surprisingly set her on a new path. Unhappy with the lack of time they could spend with patients, they advised her to pursue another career. This advice, from perhaps the least likely of sources, led Wurtz to shift focus toward clinical research for more than a decade. But then a trip to Washington state changed everything.
At a birthday party, Wurtz was introduced to a group of naturopathic physicians, and realized she had finally found what she was looking for. Soon after returning from her trip, Wurtz chose NUHS and started her naturopathic education that fall.
From graduation to a successful practice
Wurtz graduated from NUHS and currently works with Dr. Lilly Moon at Blue Moon Healing Gardens. Blue Moon Healing Garden is a holistic wellness center that offers complimentary therapies, such as acupuncture, Reiki, essential oil therapy and, of course, naturopathic medicine.
This integrative setting fits perfectly with Wurtz, who is never one to shy away from emphasizing the importance of her clients to continue working with their existing allopathic doctors.
“They’re often surprised by that integrative approach.”
In fact, Wurtz believes that promoting integrative medicine will help form a bridge between NDs and conventional doctors. This can be particularly challenging in certain parts of the country such as the Midwest, Wurtz admits, where the general public isn’t as aware of naturopathic medicine as others.
“What I stress with conventional doctors is I’m here to collaborate with you.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND
To Dr. Wurtz, the relationships she establishes with her patients are, above all else, what she cherishes most about each day.
“Somebody has entrusted me with their health and well-being, and that’s an honor that I take very seriously. I typically spend an hour to an hour and a half with patients. It can be hard for some conventional doctors to wrap their head around what we do.”
Advice for aspiring NDs
Dr. Wurtz knew naturopathic medicine was the right career choice for her. Although she was often challenged by the rigorous curriculum at NUHS, most of the time she couldn’t believe how fast time flew by. She loved studying, the doctor-patient experiences, and the entire journey through medical school.
She admits there are a lot of challenges to starting your own practice that students should be prepared for. Marketing, networking, building community connections – the level of commitment needed to run a successful practice can be exhausting, unless you view it as your passion rather than your job.
“When I get a note from a patient saying how thankful they are, it makes it all worth it.”
Learn more about Dr. Wurtz