Do I have to practice solo?
The practice of naturopathic medicine offers a mutually beneficial synergy of both patients and providers. The number of NDs practicing has tripled over the past 10 years,9 no doubt in response to the growing patient interest already mentioned. As it grows, the ND profession continues to spark the interest of those dissatisfied with conventional medicine.
This growth of the naturopathic medical profession provides a major advantage to new practitioners: the ability to gain more experience by working with seasoned practitioners. Many recent graduates are embracing this newly emerging benefit. While 60% of our survey respondents reported being the only ND in their practice, many of these sole practitioners are experienced physicians who began solo practices because they had no other option at the time.9
But the vastly larger pool of NDs in practice today gives recent graduates more opportunities to begin their careers by joining existing practices. While 28% of our respondents share a practice with another ND, 12% practice with two other NDs.9
Another choice made more often by recent graduates is to share a multi-disciplinary practice with licensed massage therapists, licensed acupuncturists and other health care practitioners. In fact 50% of new NDs (in their first year of practice) are working in some type of multi-disciplinary clinic, while only 38% of seasoned practitioners (10 or more years) are working in such a setting (Figure 4).9
As you can see, the growing public interest in integrated medical services has greatly stimulated the growth of multi-disciplinary practices. This emerging collaborative care model provides numerous opportunities and benefits – to practitioners and patients alike.