“I believe that in order to think critically to solve any medical problem you need to have not only an open-mind, but also flexibility in your decision-making to treat the patient’s individual health puzzle. Naturopathic medicine allows you to see all the pieces and the big picture without having to risk missing out on an entire part of the picture.”
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
Immediately following the completion of his undergraduate degree from the University of New England, Dr. Erik O. Nelson followed his calling in medicine and headed West to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences. “Once I toured SCNM I knew it was the right path for me. The campus is amazing and the staff and faculty go out of their way to make your naturopathic medical education individualized and make you feel like more than just a student, you feel a part of a community.” Furthermore, Dr. Nelson was drawn to the cutting edge scope including regenerative injection therapies and the Pain Relief Center (now known as the Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine).
SCNM as a springboard
“As a student at SCNM, I had the opportunity to use the full scope of naturopathic practice during my clinical training and experience evidence-based naturopathic medicine during clinical shifts. I am very thankful for my time and experiences working under Dr. Jeffrey Langland in the amazing research department at SCNM. The ability to be a part of research, to publish research papers and to acquire the skills to critically examine research and extrapolate clinically relevant information is paramount to being an excellent physician.”
Dr. Nelson credits SCNM for preparing him for his career not only in medicine, but also in business. Business courses are a part of the SCNM curriculum. Students learn what to look for in a potential employer and how to start up their own practice with lessons in marketing to help it succeed.
“Living the dream” after graduation
It was never a question as to where Dr. Nelson saw himself after graduation. His heart would always belong in his home state of New Hampshire. With a little help from SCNM’s job link website, he was able to connect with a clinic just minutes from his hometown.
After establishing himself at Seacoast Spine and Sports Injuries Clinic, Dr. Nelson joined the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NHAND). Through NHAND, Dr. Nelson heard about an opportunity with the New Hampshire Board of Naturopathic Examiners for an ND with experience in injection and parental therapies. With his experience from the SCNM Medical Center and Integrative Pain Relief Center, Dr. Nelson was appointed in 2018.
Finding fulfillment as an ND
“I love the flexibility in my medical approach and that I can tailor my treatment strategy to the individual patient. Every patient is unique and therefore every treatment should also be just as unique. I believe that in order to think critically to solve any medical problem you need to have not only an open-mind, but also flexibility in your decision-making to treat the patient’s individual health puzzle. Naturopathic medicine allows you to see all the pieces and the big picture without having to risk missing out on an entire part of the picture. “
The flexibility in Dr. Nelson’s career extends outside of the office and into the field. As a naturopathic doctor for a spine and sports injury clinic, he has the opportunity to serve on the sidelines as a team doctor for two local high school teams. “It is this kind of career flexibility and out-of-the office work experience that I love about naturopathic medicine.”
When not seeing patients, Dr. Nelson enjoys coaching varsity boy’s soccer and is a member of an integrative team doctors at Kingswood Regional High School.
Advice for aspiring NDs
Dr. Nelson recommends to begin by asking yourself what you kind of doctor you want to be. If you don’t know, explore your options, spend time in clinics to develop your own medical philosophy, develop yourself as person by becoming involved in your community. “When setting up your own practice or getting your name out to the public, a positive presence in your community and a willingness to help others goes further than a small fortune spent on marketing ever could.”
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