Jessalyn Shamess, ND, BSc, BHK shares her path to naturopathic medicine as a recent graduate of the naturopathic medical program at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM).

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“Before I started naturopathic medical school at BINM, I was working in public health research. I loved the field, but really missed the person-to-person interaction and desired to return to clinical work. I had a deep interest in chronic disease management and felt that naturopathic medicine was well suited in that area. As a perpetually inquisitive individual, I loved the fact that naturopathic medicine figured out why a person was not well, not just what to do for them.

I knew naturopathic medicine was the right path for me for many reasons. I’ve always loved nutrition and biochemistry, and I found naturopathic medicine to be strong in those areas. The principles of holism and the idea of the intrinsic ability of the body to heal also really connected with my personal philosophy on health. Ultimately, working with patients was what really showed me that naturopathic medicine was the right profession for me. I really enjoyed what I could offer my patients, whether that was simply listening or being directly a part of their healing process.”

BINM as a springboard

“I was attracted to BINM for the fact that their students routinely score as one of the highest across all of the accredited schools in board examinations. I also saw the benefits of the small class sizes.

It is impossible to put into words all that I gained while I was at BINM. Aside from the obvious clinical and medical skills, I appreciated that teachers and professors did not just stick to teaching content, but also taught how to expend thinking skills to be better at approaching clinical problems. From a self-development side, I found that the counseling program was also top-notch and encouraged students to continue to develop as a person aside from the development of clinical skills. These skills will continue to help me in my career. BINM really challenged me, but also provided the support, skills, and encouragement to face those challenges.

As a student, Dr. Shamess served as Chapter president of the Boucher Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA). “I found NMSA to be an extremely positive experience, and learned a great deal about the profession. I was able to connect with so many different types of NDs which really helped me gain a greater perspective on the realm of career possibilities. Being surrounded by so many bright young leaders further ignited my passion and gave me even more tools to reach my goals and dreams as an ND.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Take time to observe and speak to naturopathic physicians! This is a great way to learn about the profession. Even better, go see an ND yourself to get the best idea of what it is like to experience naturopathic holistic care. If you are passionate about health and wanting to give a lot to your patients, this is a great profession to be in.”

This article was originally published here at AANMC.org