Part-time Cohort Model for the ND program in North America
Wendy Tao , B.Sc., Student Representative
Boucher leads the way in its 6-year part-time naturopathic program
Having been studying part-time with Boucher for almost 2 years, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to fulfill my dream by working and studying at the same time. Boucher is the only accredited naturopathic medical school that offers a part-time cohort model in North America and I think we need to have more schools following in Boucher’s footstep by offering something similar.
Like many other professions that are experiencing a shortage of experienced workers in their field, as many baby boomers will leave the workforce between now and 2030, naturopathic physicians will also experience an impending and sustained demand spike for their roles as primary care physicians (PCPs). Meeting the needs for more primary care physicians will mean recruiting more students. A part-time learning program that offers to candidates of other first-professional degrees in health sciences can boost ND entrants, not only helping with the PCP shortage but also growing the profession at an accelerated rate to meet demand.
For our class of ND14-6, we have 10 students in our cohort. The majority of us are working in the health-related field and able to use our life experiences and knowledge to apply to school and vice versa. In my opinion, a successful part-time naturopathic program should take into account that part-time adult learners are autonomous, self-directed, goal-oriented, and practical. They have a different schedule that does not allow them to participant in events and activities during the day. Therefore, the administration of the school needs to keep in mind those activities, meetings, educational events, and gatherings should be scheduled at a convenient time to accommodate their needs as well. In fact, we just had a discussion on ways to acquire professional development hours which require us to attend seminars, present seminars to the public and volunteer within the community to promote the awareness of the profession. It will be a challenge for some of us to fulfill the required outside hours besides school and work. Nonetheless, keep in mind that an unknown author once said, “If you are traveling down a path without obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere".