I have done a little reading about N.D.'s and I know that they can make good money once they have an established practice, but the figures are generally lower. (90k average) I have heard of N.D.'s making into the triple digits, but I don't *think* it is as common. (maybe someone else knows better) I see N.D.'s in my area working in clinics with as many as 10-12 other Naturopaths. I also see partnerships of two or three working together, and, most commonly, independent practices. There is at least one clinic that does exclusive care for women only, and there are about 7 Naturopathic physicians on staff. I think it is really neat that opportunity for N.D.'s seems to be expanding.
I have been looking into Bastyr, and, geez....expensive place to go to school. (in comparison to State Medical School prices) About 25,000 a year for Naturopathic school? Ouch! Leave over 100,000 in debt? Thats like M.D. school, and I don't *think* the job security is as high as having an M.D. (unless you live in a big city) I have looked at the programs online, and they seem to have a very well-rounded program there.
A very interesting discussion...I'm a 2nd year MS in an MD program, with a background in acupuncture and Qi Gong (the basis for Chinese medicine; also includes physical exercises similar to Tai Chi for self-healing). I have about 2 years of acupuncture training (though I did not seek the degree) and 5 years training with a Qi Gong Master from China. I strongly believe in the use of these practices as a complement to Western medicine. Neither Chinese medicine (or other traditional healing methods) nor Western medicine should stand alone in healing the patient - they are much more powerful when united. There are staunch advocates for natural healing as an absolute "alternative", just as there are MD's that think natural healing is hocus pocus and should be dismissed entirely. I'm presently contemplating how I will integrate the thousands-of-years-old wisdom of Chinese medicine and Qi Gong with my future practice. Some may even be shocked to hear that I am considering a surgical specialty, but in my experience in working with Qi Gong and Chinese medicine, I've seen what great things we can do for surgical patients pre-op and post-op, not to mention (gasp!) prevention and health maintenance altogether. I feel that I have the technical skills and manual dexterity to be a good surgeon, and I feel that my background and training in Chinese medicine will only make me a better one. There are so many ways that taking a more holistic view in medicine could benefit the patient, but it's going to take years (if not generations) to make this widely accepted in the Western medical community. Old habits are hard to break. Fortunately, many of the MDs I've come across so far are at the very least curious about what Chinese medicine/Qi Gong could add to patient care. And, there is even an increasing amount of research being done in the area - i.e. fMRI-acupuncture studies. Check this one out: Cho et al found that acupuncture stimulation of the UB67 point (at the tip of the 5th toe) produced visual cortex stimulation compared to non-acupuncture points. This point has been documented in Chinese medicine texts dating literally thousands of years back as a point used to treat visual disturbances! Similar findings were recorded when the same procedure was done with a hearing-related point (with the auditory cortex of course). This is legitimate, published research performed by a physicist at UC Irvine SOM who is also a member of the National Academy of Science. It's is my personal favorite bit of complementary medicine trivia, and I share it with everyone because its implications are far-reaching. While it doesn't tell us what sticking a hair-thin needle in your pinkie toe does to your vision exactly, it does tell us that somehow there is a connection - imagine that - your toe and your eyes!! Sounds insane...but maybe the ancient Chinese knew something that we don't. Needless to say, how can this NOT worth exploring? Another promising experience I've had: For my 1st year community health project, my school allowed me to teach a course in Qi Gong at a cancer support center. The center was so happy with the class that they hired me on to teach again this fall. I have also been asked by other medical students to teach an extracurricular course on Qi Gong at my school, but the upcoming Board exams could have something to say about that! Maybe next year... Anyway, I'll always have a mouthful to say on these matters, but I'll end this message here. Good luck to all of you who choose to look into this subject at a deeper level.
P.S. to the busy resident - after you are finished, look into the acupunture program at UCLA Med for physicians - you can do it from afar, and it is very valuable training. There's also one at Stanford Med.
I wholeheartedly agree with your statements about Western medicine and Chinese medicine being integrated for the benefit of the patient.
I found it interesting that you want to go into a surgical specialty. Chinese medicine and surgery are both fascinating to me as well. If I do go with western medicine, surgery is what I find the most appealing within it. Surgery seems to be at the very extreme end of western medical philosophy: find the problem and fix it directly.
Just a little note about the business end for those considering ND. California does not recognize the ND license at this time and they must practice as acupuncturist or other recognized healthcare provider by the state. Rumor has it that it is being fought at legislative levels by insurance companies but don't quote me on that.
To Angel and everyone else who responded to my sentiments: Thanks for your replies; I always appreciate reading what you all have to say. I've been a bit out of the loop for a while now, but am finally getting back to checking in.
SO...in response to your question, Angel, I went for the M.D. degree for credibility. Whether it's fair or not, the "M.D." degree does command respect and listeners more readily than other degrees. Look at Andrew Weil- people LOVE to say that they're following the advice of "a Harvard trained M.D.," even if what he says has NOTHING to do with what he learned at Harvard! The investment in that degree has such a pay-off, it seems. Although, I'm kind of at the point where I'm still waiting...and waiting... and waiting... to finish all the "conventional" stuff (=residency) before potentially pursuing a more individualized career path. And it sure feels like a long road!
But I do think it's good to learn how M.D.s are taught to think, and critically analyze, and be skeptical, and conduct research. If you want your ideas to be more accepted by the mainstream, you need to know how to convince the mainstream!
I, too, absolutely LOVE cultural studies, to the point that I wonder, should I have made the "humanities" my VOcation, not AVOcation?? But don't worry if your husband doesn't love your region of interest...I"m sure he'll give it a chance with a bit of prodding, or nagging
And last note- learning Chinese was the deciding factor against majoring in East Asian Studies, only because it would have necessitated almost my entire courseload being either pre-med or Chinese. And that didn't seem to quite fit the diverse, liberal arts education I wanted!
I just thought I'd drop in and mention that I got together with a local acupuncturist and got some good advice and stats about it. The man I spoke with is on an city-wide acupuncure board, so I trust his opinion. He told me to remember the %50 rule: %50 of Acupuncture/Chinese herbal practice is buisness. You set up your own practice and run a small buisness, essentially. He said that some practitioners are mediocre and do very well financially because they have the buisness side down, and others are excellent practitioners but do not have buisness skills. He said it's tough having to spend time developing both of those qualities, because you have to balance how much time you are going to devote to each. Most practitioners cannot afford office help, so usually you have to do all that yourself too. He also said that %50 of graduates are able to find full time work. The other %50 are either part-time or not in practice. very informative!
Thanks for responding. You are right, and MD does carry more credibility (and job security I am finding!).
I have also wondered if I ought to just keep doing middle-eastern studies, pursue Arabic and see what happens. I do love it entirely, and my husband is warming up! (he went and bought some Arab music yesterday, and asked me if I am going to continue my language study, because he thinks I should!) I am very afraid that it will not pay off after spending money on a Masters. It is hard to find work with that kind of an education. Academia is what would appeal to me, to teach courses centered around my regional focus. Positions like that are hard to come by, and usually are occupied by natives of the region, or people who have spent significant time there.
Oh, fear and doubt! How they creep in and suck inspiration from our bones! Where is the balance between love and practicality?
-sigh- I need to decide soon because school starts in a few days! What I'd give to be a more simple person! I feel I have too many interests for one person, it's really nuts. Everyone tells me that and I am beginning to believe it!