Archive for tag: students

Four Weeks to Go

I admit that I'm starting to reminisce already about my time here at NUHS. Here are just a few of my thoughts this week as things start to wind down and rev up for the next part of this adventure!

As each of the 10th trimester Interns complete their patient numbers and competencies, transition their patients to the Interns advancing from observation to the main clinic, and prepare for the next step beyond graduation (whether joining or opening a practice, continuing with another license or starting a family), I believe each one has taken the first step on a journey of helping others with minimally invasive therapies to become healthier.


Spring 2014 will see 11 new doctors of naturopathic medicine graduate from NUHS. These doctors will be prepared to help those with chronic illness determine the underlying cause of their disease, and where possible with the therapies that we are taught to utilize and our rigorous training on the human body and its functions, work together as teammates to return our patients to their basis for health.

This is a bittersweet time for many of us. Those of us who have developed close friendships over the past 4-5 years and fostered a sense of teamwork, cooperation, learning, teaching and accomplishment will be stepping out on our own. We will be making our way in the world as healer, educator, family, friend and human being. While we will be making our singular way, we know that we will have the support of our colleagues, loved ones and our patients.

Ultimately, the support of our patients is the driving force that allows us (motivates us) to take the next leap as we begin our journey in a profession with a scope that currently exists in only 18 states and territories along with the District of Columbia in the United States. This is both an exciting and scary time for many, especially the younger new docs who are stepping out into the working world for the first time. I continue to encourage my colleagues with the notion that they are very well educated, well trained new naturopathic doctors who are going to make a positive, healing impact upon their patients' lives. As long as that is their motivation and they manage their practice wisely, they will be rewarded with a full practice as word of their expertise spreads.

Until next week, most likely with a bit more reminiscing, enjoy the spring season and renewal of the sun's warmth!

Clinic Teamwork

This past week has seen some of the greatest teamwork I have witnessed since beginning clinic observation over a week ago.

Sometimes when working as an intern at the NUHS Whole Health Center one can feel a bit 'behind the eight ball.' Seemingly running from patient to patient, keeping the cases and patient presentation in mind, completing and filing paperwork, correcting paperwork, retrieving and returning needed supplies for each patient visit is a challenge, all while ensuring that our patients have our undivided attention and best possible care to attain the most favorable outcome.


During these times, as naturopathic interns, we feel that we can accomplish everything, don't really need anyone and can never 'miss a beat.' Well, I'm here to tell you that great teammates mean everything! There's the teammate, a secondary on a patient visit, who goes the extra mile by staying late to help with getting lab samples centrifuged, plasma gathered and shipped overnight to the lab for processing ensuring the patient will have their results in a timely manner. There are the teammates who flawlessly fill in for an intern with a patient who needs regular treatment, help the patient on their healing process, and give the patient a strong sense of continuity of care. Finally, there is the teammate who can step in at a moment's notice with a patient who needs expert procedural care or a quite challenging venipuncture and can hit the bullseye with excellent bedside manner, giving the patient confidence in the care we provide. 

Part of the joy of attending in the NUHS Whole Health Center is precisely the teamwork shared by the naturopathic interns here. At any moment, we could be the primary intern on a case, the secondary, or called in to help with a skill that we have mastered. We all recognize each other's strengths and call on each other, without ego interfering, when we need the help. This is my idea of being a doctor, healer, and caregiver. This is how I envision my future clinic running. This is the type of intern/doctor that I am proud to share my education with here at NUHS and in the future as colleagues.

Much thanks to all of my colleagues here at NUHS for your knowledge sharing, cooperation and guidance. I am fortunate to have spent some time with you here at NUHS and feel secure in the future of our medicine with you in practice and caring for our fellow humans!

Thanksgiving Thanks

Rather than continue the Naturopathic Principles this week, since this is most likely my final Thanksgiving here, I want to share what I am thankful for both here at NUHS and in my life. Thank you all for indulging me this week.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Naturopathic Interns of the NUHS Whole Health Center - Lombard!

Just a few things that I am thankful for...

  • The privilege of attending naturopathic medical school at NUHS.
  • The basic sciences curriculum, which is rigorous and prepares us well.
  • Dr. Sue Darby and Dr. Robert Humphreys for being relentless in neuroanatomy.
  • Janse Pond, where I sat and studied many days.
  • Dr. Fraser Smith and Dr. James Winterstein for their dedication to rebuilding and accrediting our school in record time!
  • Again, Dr. Fraser Smith, for being willing to listen to student concerns regarding the program and its future.
  • Our clinicians at the NUHS Whole Health Center, who listen to our treatment plans and ideas and give us the leeway (with a safety net) to help our patients to the best of our ability!
  • Tony, Mark, Tom, Tom, Tony, Tony, Frank, Shelby and Marilyn! You make EVERY day a joy on this campus!
  • Bob, Mary Ann, Mark and Sharon of Financial Aid! Your help with planning and budgeting is priceless...what a pun!
  • The entire faculty and staff at NUHS, especially Marie Olbrysh and the Communications staff for allowing this forum for students to openly share their experiences at NUHS.

In my life...

  • That both of my parents are still with us and 'on the mend'!
  • My three sisters back home who are sharing care duties for my folks!
  • My family and friends of many years.
  • Lauren, whom I wouldn't have met without being at NUHS. You make me happy, dear!
  • Those who have helped with life lessons that have put me exactly where I am today!
  • Self-sustainable skills and traits learned from my parents while growing up.

That just about does it this week!  Hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving and are with the ones you love!  I'll continue next week with the Naturopathic Principles.

Two Fellow Interns

This week I'm profiling two naturopathic interns, Heather Bautista and Echaukyei (Chucky) Ndumbi. Today, as the two of them were sitting discussing their future practices and the lives they would improve and save, I decided to set up an impromptu interview.

2013-07-09_ndumbi _bautista
Echaukyei (Chucky) Ndumbi and Heather Bautista

Heather Bautista is a native of the Chicago area. After working in the pharmaceutical industry for a number of years, Heather saw how disease was being "treated" and not healed, across the spectrum. She decided to pursue a career that helped others heal through learning proper lifestyle choices and habits. She chose a profession that gets to the root cause of a problem and finds a way, where possible, to remedy that problem to return the person to a basis for health.

When Heather was considering medical school, her experience with the pharmaceutical industry was a strong consideration in her decision to pursue naturopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic. She has a strong desire to help people heal rather than take a course of medications for an indefinite period, many times simply masking a deficiency or illness. When asked what gives her motivation for becoming a naturopathic doctor, Heather mentioned the complete sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that comes with helping another human being truly heal.

Chucky is a native of Cameroon. After his family immigrated to the United States in his early teens, he decided to continue the tradition of becoming a healer, as his family has been in Cameroon for generations. Chucky remembered how healthy his friends and family were as they consumed vegetables, fruits and meats from their farms and lived a healthy, active lifestyle. Chucky came to his decision to pursue naturopathic medicine as it espoused a lifestyle that is crucial to the basis for health as well as being eclectic in preventing, as well as treating, and curing disease, when prevention is not enough.

Chucky chose NUHS based upon the location of our campus to his home in Maryland. Chucky knew he wanted to pursue naturopathic medicine and he said he truthfully could not have prepared himself for the rigors of the basic sciences portion of the curriculum here at NUHS. Essentially, when he visited campus, he fell in love with NUHS. Chucky feels that NUHS is preparing him to become an eclectic naturopathic doctor who will use the proper modality to help his patients heal to the greatest extent possible.

Each of the students who roam the halls of the naturopathic clinic know that when strictly looking at the mathematics of the cost of naturopathic medical school vs. allopathic medical school, the costs are very similar. At the same time, the residencies are not as plentiful, the backing of huge pharmaceutical and medical supply companies is non-existent, and the starting salary of a newly matriculated and licensed naturopathic doctor is a fraction of a new allopathic doctor's. While these are the hard facts as the profession stands today, we are growing as a group.

The success stories are mounting as NDs set up practices throughout the country. We are licensed in 17 states and U.S. territories at the time of this entry's publication. As our numbers are currently around 6,000-7,000 NDs in the USA and Canada, the word is spreading that our medicine works to get to the root cause of illness. Somewhere I've read that about 25,000 practitioners is the critical number to truly have an educated populace who knows of our profession and how we approach medical care. If this is the case, we are doing a pretty good job until now getting out the word about Naturopathic Medicine, in 17 of the 50 states so far.

As Heather and Chucky expressed today, most naturopathic medical students are not here for a huge paycheck. While we all acknowledge that we need to make enough to repay our student loans, pay our bills, live a good life, and save for retirement, our true purpose here is to save lives.

The Present

This week I'm just sharing a few words to reminisce and look forward to the next chapter in my life and career as a doctor. As the weather has been very mild for this time of year in Illinois, along with a good amount of rain, I have had the opportunity for many long, brisk walks and bike rides with my "significant other."

As we sat down under the willows to study this past weekend (she prepping for Botanical Medicine and Homeopathy classes while I was finishing up research for a patient in clinic), I started thinking about my time under these willows studying for the same classes she was now learning. I thought about our first conversation together a year ago, as she was taking a bike ride, stopped to chit-chat over books, and ended up staying for two hours under these willows--not very productive for study, yet the most fulfilling for getting to know a wonderful woman!


I thought about the friendships forged, the laughter, stress, and some tears shed under these very trees. I thought about the planning process for the Naturopathic Student Gathering. The spot underneath these two giant willows was the birthplace of the Talking Stick of the Naturopathic Student Gathering. These willows gave shade and solace during that time; they shared the concept of the willow and even gave of themselves for the opening ceremony and its trappings, after some fierce storms came through town last summer. 

During our small adventures around and about DuPage County, just outside of Chicago, where NUHS is located, we would talk about our times here at school and plans for the future. Where will she practice; where will I practice? What about our specialties, communities, how much of our training we will need to brush-up on, modify, or grow to meet the needs of the town or towns we settle within. We talk about licensure, legislative efforts and growing our profession on a national scale, and the responsibilities that come with being a part of the growth of naturopathic medicine. We talk about educating the public in a sensible, concise manner on exactly what naturopathic medicine is and what we can accomplish for our fellow human beings' health.

Finally, as I was sitting under the tree, thinking about my life before naturopathic medicine, the journey here at NUHS and the career that lies ahead, our Mama Swan and her three new cygnets stopped by the table under the willows. They were reminders that each passing year brings new rewards, new challenges, new people in our lives, and hope for the future. Each new year brings hope for health, hope for success, hope for joy and fulfillment; hope for the ability to provide for others and ourselves. My sweetheart looked over, asked my thoughts and why I was smiling. I took in all the symbols of past, present and future around me, the willows over me, the Mama Swan and her little ones behind me, my lady next to me, the patient research in front of me, the wind whipping the willow branches, and mixing all together, I replied, "Just enjoying the present, babe."