Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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[revised] 3 things to consider before choosing a program in alternative medicine.jpg

As complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continue to become popular and sought-after methods of treatment, the demand for CAM practitioners also rises. In the last blog post, we discussed four alternative medical careers that help change lives, including chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine, as well as massage therapy. For anyone considering a career in these growing fields, there are three things you should consider when selecting a program:

1. An academically rigorous program

A rigorous medical program is important because it challenges you to learn and do your best. It also helps ensure that you will be learning in a stimulating environment with other talented students.

When evaluating the rigor of a medical program, you should start with the admission requirements. At National University, we require a bachelor’s degree for admission to our chiropractic and naturopathic medicine programs. In fact, we are the only chiropractic program to require a bachelor’s degree for admission. Along with this high standard, we also require success in undergraduate science coursework because it provides an essential foundation for our programs.

A careful review of the curriculum is also necessary when evaluating a program’s academic excellence. You should be sure that the program features rigorous basic science courses. These courses help build a solid basis for your medical training. The curriculum should also include comprehensive clinical science coursework and diverse clinical practice experiences.

At National University, we train you as a physician, so we provide you with a broad-scope curriculum in our basic sciences phase, which includes a full year of anatomy and physiology where you'll perform hands-on human dissection — not prosection or virtual instruction. Our clinical science phase teaches you to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of ailments by practicing evaluation and diagnostic procedures with "standardized patients." And in your final clinical internship phase, you will experience a variety of clinical opportunities, both on and off campus, to develop your medical and leadership skills by participating in community outreach events.

2. A focus on integrative medicine

In today’s medical climate, the trend toward integrative care is on the rise, driven by patients seeking to utilize the benefits of the blending of natural health care and alternative medicine — along with more conventional approaches. Medical practitioners are supporting this movement by developing multi-disciplinary, integrative practices. For example, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) has a residency program for naturopathic medicine (ND) students. Students from National University’s ND program have been selected for these prestigious residencies.

At National University, we believe that the best outcome for patients is possible when practitioners from different medical specialties work together as colleagues rather than competitors. Students learn and work collaboratively in our classrooms, our laboratories, and our clinic. This prepares the students to co-manage cases with a variety of other health care specialists, which is a valuable asset in today’s health care environment.

Additionally, NUHS students have the distinct advantage of expanding their skill set and earning potential by enrolling in multiple degree programs offered on this integrative campus. This allows students to save both time and money and become true integrative medicine practitioners.

3. Accredited programs

Accreditation acknowledges educational programs and/or institutions for achieving and maintaining a level of quality, performance, and integrity based on educational, student service and business standards. Accreditation is especially important in the field of alternative medicine. You want to be sure that your degree has credibility and that you are eligible to apply for financial aid. And you want to be sure that your education prepares you to take the necessary licensure examinations in your field — essential for professional practice.

National University has always been a leader in advocating for and obtaining accreditation and was the first chiropractic institution to receive regional and programmatic accreditation. Our commitment to institutional accreditation continues and all of our degree and certificate programs have programmatic accreditation from their respective accrediting bodies.

High Standards

National University is an established champion of academic excellence for its professions. The University sets high standards in training for careers in health care and provides a dynamic atmosphere where students, faculty, and clinicians of various complementary and alternative health professions work together in an integrative environment. That's why students from across the globe choose NUHS to pursue higher education in health care.

Stay up to date with the latest trends in alternative medicine by subscribing to The Future of Integrative Health.

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Posted by Dr. Randy Swenson

Dr. Randy Swenson, DC, MHPE, is the Vice President of Academic Services at National University. While he has practiced chiropractic and taught several classes at National, he finds administrative duties to be the most rewarding. His education includes Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from National College of Chiropractic and a Master of Health Professions degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.