Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Accredited Naturopathic Schools - Article 2

In a recent exchange, http://rosemary-jacobs.blogspot.com/2013_08_01_archive.html, a student at an accredited naturopathic school in Canada told me that his school is considered a medical school because the students there get an education comparable to that of medical doctors. Since he had previously stated, “…NDs do not have the same privileges as MDs in Canada, not even close,” I asked him why if NDs have an education comparable to that of MDs, they aren’t given the same privileges that MDs have. He didn’t respond. If any of you knows the answer, please tell me. I’d love to know. 

Anyone with a degree from an accredited naturopathic school in either the US or Canada can be licensed as a naturopath, ND, in any and all of the states and provinces that license them meaning that the educations they get in all their accredited North American schools are considered to be the same, http://www.cnme.org/. I know of several NDs with degrees from Canadian schools who are practicing in the US. 

Based on my investigations and personal experience with NDs who hold degrees from accredited ND schools, I am quite certain that their educations are not the equivalent of an MD’s, not even close, http://rosemaryjacobs.com/naturopaths.html 
and I’m not the only one who has looked into the matter who has arrived at that conclusion. 

NDs who constantly insist that they get the same education in their 4-year accredited schools that MDs get in their 4-year institutions usually fail to add that most NDs start practicing when they finish school whereas MDs are required to do hospital residencies which for those going into primary care, the area NDs claim to specialize in, is a minimum of three additional years. In other words medical doctors spend a minimum of 3 more years after earning degrees from 4-year medical schools getting a hands-on education as they work under the supervision of experienced doctors in hospitals. http://www.aanmc.org/education/comparing-nd-md-curricula.php. Evidently, their 4 years of study in medical school isn’t considered sufficient to prepare them to treat patients but 4 years of study of what NDs claim is the equivalent of that education in an ND school is? I don’t think so, but that’s just part of the problem.

While a few NDs are starting to do residencies now because jurisdictions who license them are beginning to require it, they are usually doing one year residencies and they are usually doing them in clinics or private naturopathic practices not hospitals. http://www.np-ga.com/currentresidencies.html. Heck, unlike MDs, NDs don’t have hospitals. Unlike MDs, they haven’t opened hospitals or been doing surgery and caring for the acutely ill in them since the founding of naturopathy in 1902 when they were called “drugless healers”. And even today where naturopaths are licensed in several jurisdictions as primary care physicians, they aren’t permitted to do anything but minor surgery. They can’t do invasive procedures in which people are cut open. So, yeah, they may learn anatomy in their schools by dissecting cadavers, but they don’t gain experience observing or working on the anatomy of living human beings laying opened on the operating table. Neither do they observe and care for people in serious crises and emergency situations. I think that most anyone who has ever been a patient in a hospital or spent time visiting one will tell you that what you see there is very different than what you see anywhere else. My guess is that anyone who has ever been a hospital patient or visited one realizes the huge difference between seeing and treating very sick people and those with minor complaints or chronic illnesses. 

But even without taking into account medical residencies, how can NDs possibly learn all the same scientific disciples in their 4-year accredited schools that MDs learn in theirs in the same depth as MDs do when in addition to courses labeled as basic medical sciences that medical doctors take naturopaths must also take courses that teach and prepare them to practice so many additional modalities like homeopathy, botanical medicine, physical therapies, counseling, and nutrition? http://www.scnm.edu/academics/nd-degree/nd-scope-of-practice. Are there really enough hours in the day during a 4-year course of study to cram in all that MDs, psychologists, registered dietitians, physical therapists, homeopaths and herbalists learn in order to practice their specialties? How could there be? Do the math.

And at 4-year accredited naturopathic schools located in places where NDs are not permitted to prescribe or use drugs, while they may take a course called “pharmacology”, how can they get practical experience with pharmaceuticals when neither they nor their ND professors are permitted to use them? And why is it that NDs who have degrees from ND schools where they are not permitted to use prescription drugs are permitted to use them if and when they become licensed in a state that permits NDs to use pharmaceuticals? That sounds very dangerous to me. 

Maybe I’m not the only one who has investigated and concluded that NDs most certainly do no get an education equivalent to that of MDs in their schools. Maybe that is why NDs in Canada aren’t granted the same privileges that MDs have there.