How to Choose a Naturopathic Doctor
When you first begin your journey with naturopathic care, you will need to find someone that you want to work with. There are many different factors to consider when making this decision; do they have experience with my condition? Do they like treating my condition? What is their approach? Do they do testing? Do I want testing? This post will provide guidance on the most and least helpful ways to build your healthcare team.
Let’s start with the least helpful ways to choose an ND:
1.The busiest schedule.
It’s not uncommon for patient’s to request the ND that is booking the farthest out. The rationale? They must be good if they are that busy. The flaw in this thought? Not all NDs work the same hours. We are self-employed which means we are free to set our hours. Some NDs work only one day per week while others work five days per week. Those who work less days in a week see less patients in a week which means it takes longer to see them. Those who work more days have more available hours which means it is faster to see them. However, there is not necessarily a difference in their experience. They are simply just working the hours that best suit their individual lives.
2.Testimonials & Reviews (including Google Reviews)
You likely did not know this about me but I sit on the regulatory board of Saskatchewan Naturopathic Doctors. This means that, in my spare time (haha!), I volunteer to keep the practice of naturopathy safe for the community. An important part of keeping folks safe is ensuring that reviews are kept to a minimum*. I know that probably seems really odd. But here’s the deal: NDs are not permitted to ask for and/or post reviews of any kind. Why? The answer is simple. We cannot know if those reviews are coming from actual patients or friends of the ND. In other words, there is a chance that the reviews that you are reading to determine whether or not you should see that ND are not true reviews from patients. Further, NDs are not permitted to respond to reviews as this breaks patient confidentiality. Since the regulatory board is here to protect the public, we simply cannot allow reviews without knowing if it is truly a patient (and also not a friend with bias) and we cannot know this because of patient confidentiality. Whew, right?
*Google reviews are a grey area because – at this time – they cannot be turned off and they cannot be deleted. However, NDs are still not permitted to ask for Google reviews. Since they cannot be deleted, it may also happen where providers will receive negative reviews from folks who never actually enter the clinic. They are highly unreliable.
Okay, so then….what should you consider?
I always tell potential patients: You need to choose someone who provides an approach that resonates with you. Period. If you love biohacking, find an ND who offers biohacking protocols. If you like evidence-based medicine and research, find an ND who offers evidence-based medicine. If you adore homeopathy, find an ND who offers homeopathy. If you want IV therapy, find an ND who provides IV therapy. If you know that you want to do advanced testing, find an ND that offers it. We have a wealth of practitioners with different approaches in our community. Look at their websites, ask your friends or family for feedback and if you want to know if they have the experience to treat your condition, call the clinic and ask.
And if it is helpful, here is how I source my healthcare providers as someone who is a healthcare provider:
1.I ask around. And then I ask some more. Some questions might be:
What do you like about them?
Were you able to follow through on their recommendations?**
Did you feel comfortable to ask questions? Were you given space to ask questions?
** I’ve come to realize that this question is a very important one. People will often say “it did nothing for me” however, upon questioning, you might realize that they didn’t actually implement any changes. Or they might have tried a couple of things and then never went back. Healthcare is an ever-evolving journey. It truly requires dedication, depth and effort. For this reason, I always ask folks about the long game.
2. I look at their website and social media if they have it.
I’m not really interested in their credentials unless I am looking for a specific modality. Rather, I want to know what kind of person they are. Could I jive with them? Would I feel comfortable with them? I ask these questions lightly knowing that building rapport takes time.
If you are in the market for an ND, I hope the above will help you find one that suits your needs. Since the definition of health and wellness can vary for every single one of us, it is ideal that you craft your unique team that will help you meet your wellness goals. We truly have a diverse and talented crowd of NDs in the province of Saskatchewan. I wish you all luck in building the healthcare team of your dreams!