Hey, everyone! Today, I have an interview from Christi! She is a naturopathic medical student from Canada. I have learned so much about naturopathic medicine through her Instagram blog and decided it would be awesome to interview her! I’m so happy she agreed to an interview! Happy reading!
- Tell me a bit about yourself. What is your professional background? Where did you go to school? What year are you? Where are you from?
My name is Christilynn, but I go by Christi, and am from Toronto, Ontario! I have a background in research, and have proudly been a part of the conduction and coordination of a few medical and scientific studies. For my undergraduate degree, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Medical Science (Honours) at Brock University, and am currently in my second year at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine studying the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program.
- Favorite food? Movie? TV show? Book? (Answer what you’d like)
My favorite food is definitely Irish and Middle Eastern cuisine, and my go to on a cheat meal night is wings! My favorite movie is PS I Love You, and my favorite TV shows are Grey’s Anatomy and Saving Hope. My favorite book is Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza.
- What hobbies do you like to do outside of work/school?
Outside of work and school, I like to go running, and I love to draw as my previous background before medicine and science was in the arts!
- Tell me about a typical day as a medical school student/resident?
A typical day in medical school involves waking up early, and lots of coffee before 8:00am. I attend approximately between 7 and 9 hours of class a day, with only about an hours-worth of breaks combined. Classes typically include for me in second year, microbiology, clinical and physical diagnosis, Asian medicine, conventional pharmacology, botanical medicine, and so on. After class, if we don’t have clinic shadowing (which runs between 4-6 hours), my roommate and I go to the gym and then home to study until about 11:00pm… then we sleep and repeat!
- Why medicine? Why did you decide to become a physician (vs. other medical fields: PA, nurse, NP, etc.)?
I graduated secondary school and entered into a BA in Visual Art. This is where it all happened. Thankfully, the university I attended requires you to take a few courses outside of your comfort zone in first year, including a mandatory science context course. The human body had always fascinated me, as I was interested in fitness training and was intrigued as to how your system worked. From there on, there was no turning back… I had been introduced to the human perspective of biology. I needed to know more about the body and how all the systems worked. I could not believe what I was learning; it was everything about the biology of the body and medicine that attracted me. With the endless and overwhelming curiosity that consumed me, I found the path that would allow me to do all that my life had been preparing me for. The connection I had to helping those through my music and art, brought out a much deeper connection within me through the art of science. I immediately decided that I was going to do anything it took to become a medical science student, regardless of not having the background or prerequisites from high school. I worked with the university and took what I needed online, and leapt at the opportunity of learning science at the university level. There was something about knowing how challenging it would be, that made me want it even more.
Once I completed my undergraduate degree, I had received offers of admission from conventional and naturopathic medical schools. This was the hardest decision of my life- did I want to work to eventually one day be a surgeon, or did I want to focus on preventative (before disease even strikes) and chronic care of patients suffering from chronic illness. I truly love both approaches to medicine, I am pro integrative medicine to help the overall health and wellbeing of others. Combining both forms of medicine I believe can be crucial in fighting and curing certain illnesses/disease. I sat down and took a look at my options, I dug through old assignments and papers I had written throughout my undergraduate and examined the topics I had chosen. It was no secret I had an obsession with cardiology and neuroscience, but it was also no secret that the research I had done on the different aspects of these topics mostly had to do with preventive treatment, the body working together as one intricate system, and therapeutic treatments that were more so on the natural side of medical treatment. It was a tough decision, so tough that I still struggle with it! But anyone who is truly passionate about a career, struggles with where they feel they will make the most positive difference in their field. I have always been in love with the idea of cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery; I have read books upon books, copious amounts of research articles, viewed these surgeries in person and via online videos to such an extent that it was all I could think about at times. However, when it came to my papers, research proposals and thought process, my biggest and most exciting challenge was thinking about what caused these organ defects and disease, especially in the fetal population! Was there any type of preventive measures to aid in the intrauterine development of a fetus? Were there any safe forms of preventive therapeutic treatments for children and adults to help decrease the risk of certain defects and disease later on in life? These were also a big part of my thought process, such a part that every time I thought about surgery and how to “fix” some of these problems, I thought twice as much about how to prevent them in a way that was safe and natural for not only a developing fetus, but for an older population as well.
This constant train of thought, supported by five years of study in my undergraduate degree helped me to decide what career path was best for me, and what offer of admission to choose. I have chosen to be a naturopathic medical student, and couldn’t be happier with my decision.
- What is naturopathic medicine?
Those pursuing to be a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) attend a 4-year naturopathic medical school that consists of a standard medical curriculum: 2 years of didactic studying basic sciences (naturopathic and allopathic medical students are both educated in all the same biomedical courses with the same credit loads) and then 2 years of clinical rotations. In addition, naturopathic medical students learn non-toxic, disease prevention, chronic disease, and wellness optimization therapies such as botanical medicine, physical medicine, nutrition, IV therapy, minor surgery & more. Naturopathic medical students and doctors primarily focus on the fundamental causes of disease, treating each individual as unique when it comes to the process of healing, and emphasizes the importance of a healthy lifestyle, preventative, and sometimes, integrative approach to medical care. ND’s take a step 1 board exam (NPLEX I) and step 2 licensing exam (NPLEX II) that allow them to be fully licensed and practicing doctors, hence the title of “ND”. ND’s, just like the standard model for MD’s and DO’s can specialize, prescribe, do diagnostics & carry malpractice insurance. ⠀
Currently, 23 US States & some Canadian provinces have licensing laws for Naturopathic Doctors. In these states/provinces, ND’s must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually and have a specific scope of practice as defined by their state’s/provinces law. Also, there are ONLY 7 ACCREDITED naturopathic medical schools in Canada and the US combined!
- What is the difference between naturopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine in terms of patient care/treatment?
In years 3 and 4, osteopathic medical students continue to receive similar training to medical doctors with additional training in osteopathic manipulative treatment with a strong belief that if the musculoskeletal system is balanced, then the whole body working as one interconnected system, will see improvement too. This “whole body as one interconnected system” idea is what naturopathic students strongly believe as well. However, in years 3 and 4 we continue to focus more on courses geared to more of what we would like to specialize in, along with more in-depth courses in botanical medicine, and other alternative therapies.
- Is naturopathic medicine more common in Canada vs. the US?
To my knowledge, they are common in both Canada and the US.
- What experience is necessary to become a naturopathic physician? (Exam, shadowing, prior jobs, etc.)
To practice as a Naturopathic Doctor, an individual must complete the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine. Complete both NPLEX 1 & 2 board certified exams, shadow 4th year interns and ND’s for a certain number of hours depending on the medical school attended, and to do well/ maintain the required GPA of the school the student is attending.
- Finally, do you have any special words of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?
It is not easy at all, but it’s worth it. Medicine is for those who couldn’t even dream of doing anything else! Keep up with your notes/lectures, constantly review and try your best to study as much as possible. Surround yourself with a good support system, those who encourage you even during the toughest of times. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class, there are no dumb questions! We are all students here trying to learn and become the best medical care professionals that we can possibly be. You have got this, don’t give up, you are meant to do this. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, Christi! Good luck on your medical journey! If you want to read more motivational posts like this, check out my other interviews! And remember, as Christi said,
Photo credit: @sherrys.studio (Instagram)
Thanks for visiting my blog! Be sure to check out my other posts. More to come soon! Until then be kind and remember tomorrow depends on what you do today. Hope you enjoyed reading! — Taylor ❤