Do Naturopathic Doctors Go To Med School?

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Accredited naturopathic medical schools are four-year, in-residence, hands-on medical programs consisting of a minimum of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training. In addition to a traditional medicinal program, their school graduates must complete 4 years of training in disciplines such as clinical nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine, physics, physical medicine (adjustments), pharmacology, and minor surgery.  Naturopathic students study in a clinical environment under the strict guidance of licensed practitioners in at least the last two years of their medical degree.

Naturopathic medical education is focused on a unique theory based on the six principles of natural medicine, including holistic, non-poisonous treatments, the emphasis on disease prevention and the optimization of well-being. ND school curricula therefore include some fields of study, such as clinical nutrition, acupuncture, regenerative medicine and psychological therapy, that are not covered in traditional medical school. However, in many of the same biomedical and diagnostic sciences as their MD counterparts, prospective NDs often undergo instruction, and a rigorous and well-rounded medical education is the result.

For both ND and MD students, the general education system is very similar. In the first year, biomedical research including anatomy and biochemistry is underlined in both programs.  During the second year, courses focused on diagnostic science, including evidentiary medicine and physiological examination. These two programs steadily enhance the problem-based learning and integrated preparation of students, helping them to understand how the various concepts taught interact.

The ND student loads are exactly the same for the first two years as the MD student loads. ND students must complete as many credits, if not more than MD students in almost all biomedical sciences. Although a system-based approach to medical education is employed in many traditional medical facilities, the majority of naturopathic health programs do not. Anatomy, physiology, anatomy and diagnostic qualities for each body system are taught in a system-based approach (i.e., respiratory, digestive, nervous system, etc.). And while some ND schools can shift towards a more system-based approach to education, classes in a traditional ND curriculum are not separated by a system but instead concentrate on how the symptoms can affect the entire anatomy and well-being of the patient in one part of the body.

Some ND school curricula often start clinical formation in the first and second years, just as some MD school curricula then introduce observational changes. Third and fourth years of practice by clinical education.

Pre-requisites

The student should have completed three years of premedical training and a bachelor of science before being admitted to an accredited naturopathic medicine school. Students should provide graduates with heavy emphasis on chemistry and biology in English and Humanities, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Apart from the required training work, prospective students need to demonstrate sufficient observer and communication skills, motor control, analytical and logical skills, integrative and quantitative skills, and computability and social maturity.

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