Most Naturopathic Doctors will choose to join a naturopathic practice upon graduating and passing their licensing exams. It’s generally easier than starting your own practice, there is no requirement to go into (even more) debt, and it allows the naturopath to focus on gaining clinical experience rather than worrying about all the aspects of running a business.
While joining another clinic may seem in many ways like getting a job, in reality it is much more complex. In almost every contract I’ve reviewed, the Naturopathic Doctor is responsible for many aspects of running their own business including reporting requirements to Canada Revenue Agency. Most (if not all) of your compensation will be based on performance: patient billings, supplement sales, lab fees, etc, and you will often be responsible for generating at least some of your patients.
Joining the right naturopathic practice can provide a great boost to your career along with a steady income, while choosing the wrong clinic can leaving you struggling and unfulfilled. This 5 part series is designed to provide a starting point in your search for the right clinic to join. Keep in mind there is not a universal ideal clinic, rather your ideal clinic will depend on your unique goals, interests, and personal situation.
Joining a Naturopathic Practice Part 1: It’s all about You!
Most naturopaths initial thoughts when choosing a clinic tend to focus on (1) will they hire me? and (2) how much will they pay me? or what is the split percentage? While this is a natural reaction especially for new grads, the process of finding the right clinic (and securing a position) is much more complex. When looking at all the important factors in choosing a clinic financial compensation rarely is at the top of the list.
Before determining what clinic is right for you, you must first determine what you are looking for and relatively how important different factors are:
- Do you want to start your own practice one day?
- How long do you anticipate being at this clinic?
- Do you anticipate moving to a different town, province, or country?
- Do you plan to specialize in a particular aspect(s) of naturopathic medicine?
- What is your clinical “style”?
- How set are you on a particular location or city?
- What income level do you need to:
- Meet your basic needs
- Live comfortably
- Live luxuriously
- How much risk are you prepared to take on?
What non-clinical duties (such as marketing) are you prepared to take on?
Once you know what’s important for you, then you’re ready to begin comparing clinics.