Jessica Schule, BSc, ND is a naturopathic doctor, part-time acupuncture student, and full-time mother. Dr. Schule shares her path to a career in naturopathic medicine and how she works to bridge the gap of Indigenous medicine with naturopathic principles.
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
“I have always wanted to be a doctor. It wasn’t until my final year of university that I discovered naturopathic medicine. As an Aboriginal, my lifestyle involved herbal remedies, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications to aid in athletic performance. My family gathered herbs, practiced Traditional Aboriginal Medicine by requesting help from traditional medicine keepers, along with spiritual practices. Once I had started researching naturopathic medicine, I knew I was on the right track as it aligned with my personal beliefs and values. I want to bridge the gap of Indigenous medicine along with naturopathic principles.”
BINM as a springboard
“I was attracted to Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) for their small class sizes, personable community charisma, reputation, and NPLEX pass rates. I had outstanding instructors who emphasized the naturopathic principles and eclectic teachings to ensure that they are a part of my everyday practice. BINM listened to the student voices to help shape and shift the future of its school. My voice as a proclaimed Aboriginal student was heard. I was able to sit as an Aboriginal Chair within the Global Health team, assisting in bringing Aboriginal elders and guests to present during Global Health Week. I was also able to bridge the gap between Aboriginal communities and BINM to help create the first external clinic site on Aboriginal reserve land. I worked closely with the external site coordinator in scheduling and speaking at meetings that involved First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Katzie First Nation, and BINM.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND
Following graduation, Dr. Schule applied for residency and a work visa, and relocated to Washington from British Columbia. She looked for roles within the medical field that would build her skills. As a resident, she worked hard and put in long days to develop her skillset further.
Dr. Schule is currently finishing her final year of acupuncture school while working part-time as a naturopathic doctor at Rebel Med NW with a focus on primary care, women’s health, digestive health, and physical medicine. In addition to school and work, she is also a full-time mother.
“I choose to be a primary care provider, to educate and empower individuals about their health. I love to show research about the science and biology of the human body, and to explain the root cause of their health concerns. Balancing everything has its challenges, however my work life balance is rewarding and reaffirming that my career choice is the right path as I serve my community.”
In addition, Dr. Schule is also grateful for her career flexibility. “I love that I am not confined or limited to one aspect of naturopathic medicine. I am excited to explore the future possibilities of teaching, supervising, etc.”
Advice for future students
“Shadow multiple naturopathic doctors, ask questions, don’t be afraid of hard work, rest/travel prior to entering naturopathic medical school, and learn how valuable a good night sleep is.
Determine what your passion is, hold on to it tightly, and ensure that your daily life aligns with your career path and long-term dreams.”
Learn more about Dr. Schule
This article was originally posted on the AANMC blog.
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