Top 5 questions to ask a Naturopathic Doctor
You're considering booking in an initial consultation with your naturopathic doctor, awesome!
You're one step closer to feeling more empowered about your health. Seeing an ND is an investment of your money and time, so before you make the leap here are a few questions to keep in mind to make sure it's a good fit. I'm assuming you've already done your homework to make sure your ND is a licensed and board certified doctor, but if you haven't, here's a link to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors where you can search for your ideal ND by location and clinical focus.
What patients do you love to treat, and why?
Many NDs run general family practices, which means they are qualified to treat a variety of health concerns in patients of all ages. That being said, some doctors develop a special interest in treating specific populations, e.g. kids with itchy skin, or postmenopausal women who struggle with weight issues. You can often get a good sense of this by checking out an NDs website and social media posts, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Finding an ND who loves to treat the issues you have is like finding your own personal health coach & cheerleader. You know they're motivated and excited to help you feel better, and they have lots of experience to get you there.
What therapies do you use, what therapies do you refer out for?
While all NDs are required to pass the same licensing and board exams, some NDs choose to pursue further licensing in specific areas. If you are interested in pursuing intravenous therapy treatments, or using injection therapy, or bio-identical hormones, make sure your ND is licensed to provide these services to you. If they aren't, ask about their referral network. Ideally your ND has a strong community of health practitioners they can suggest for therapies that are beyond their scope.
How will we communicate to one another, and how often should I expect to follow up?
While every patient case is unique, some NDs prefer more frequent follow ups, particularly during the early stages of treatment, to make sure things are progressing as expected. Others are ok giving you space to work through your treatment plan at a slower pace. Asking ensures that you are both on the same page when it comes to the time and cost of reaching your heath goals. When it comes to communication, will your ND call or email to check in with you? While we can't diagnose or treat over the phone or by email, it helps to know how and how often you can get in touch to clarify questions from your last visit, or plan for your next follow up.
How do you stay up to date?
This question is key. The whole reason you are going to see an ND is to make use of their wealth of knowledge on the intricacies of human health. You know they have a degree from an accredited college, but how up to date are they in their clinical knowledge? Do they attend seminars on a regular basis? How research literate is your doctor? A good ND should be comfortable accessing, assessing, and explaining evidence to you. What internet sources do they trust to get access to the latest information? Pick their brain! Or better yet, ask to see their browser tabs!
BONUS POINTS QUESTION: What motivated you to become an ND?
NDs love it when you ask us our story. Many of us have faced our own set of health challenges, or have seen loved ones struggle with poor health. The more you get a sense of what motivates your ND to take on the challenge of this profession, the more you will understand how they can help.
If you're considering bringing me on as a member of your health team, I would be delighted to answer these questions for you, and address any other concerns you have. You can set up a free 15 minute 'meet and greet' either in person or by phone to go over this list together. I may have some questions for you as well! For more information check out this page for details on booking and what to expect in your first visit with me.