Docere- To instruct, teach or point out.
There are six principles of Naturopathic Medicine which are all essential to making our medicine what it is, but there is one that really speaks to me and that is Doctor As Teacher (Docere). I feel as though this principle has been a part of me for a while- tutoring, teaching yoga, skating and golf lessons and helping anyone who asks about how to have a nutritious and delicious vegan diet. I love passing on the knowledge I have to other people so that they can get more out of life.
Although I've only been in clinic for a short period of time, I'm seeing how valuable this principle is and how much patients appreciate it. We've had patients come in with lab work or a diagnosis and have no clue what it meant because nobody took the time to explain it to them. They might get told their TSH levels are high, but what does that actually mean? When we sit down with a patient and explain the role of that hormone in their body and why it's important for it to be in range, they get more connected with their body, their issue and seem to make more of an effort to get better.
It's not only labs and pathology that need explanations though. Most days I'm in clinic there is a variety of ways we teach patients:
- How to shop for food and prepare meals that will benefit them
- Home exercises that they can do to restore imbalances in their body (and even as small as coaching them to walk and bike more instead of driving)
- How to prepare their tea and when to take it throughout the day
- How to ground themselves, teaching them to breathe, relax and let go of anxiety
These are just a few examples of how we teach our patients to get them back on track to health. Each and every patient is different though and requires a different approach and different teaching techniques, which can be fun but also challenging.
The teaching aspect of Naturopathic Medicine also provides such a great opportunity to make a connection with a patient. This makes the appointments more enjoyable for everyone and will hopefully increase patient compliance.
If you're interested in what sort things an ND can teach you to help you live the healthiest life possible, visit an ND in your area. It is Naturopathic Medicine Week after all so why not take this chance to learn more about it?
Also- curious about what's happening in the picture at the top? That's Dr. Sarah O'Byrne from Naturopaths Without Borders in Haiti, teaching Haitian women (with me as her demo) on using ear seeds to help them for various things.