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The library is a searchable online bilingual database of peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, as well as data resources on all matters related to health human resources within and concerning Canada.

The scope of naturopathic medicine in Canada: An emerging profession

Author
Verhoef M J, Boon H S, Mutasingwa D R
Year
2006
Journal
Social Science and Medicine
Volume
63
Issue
2
Pages
409-417
Method/Tool
Geography
Document Type
Hits
790
Language
English
Keywords
ACTION NEEDED-NEEDS KEYWORDS, CANADA, CONCEPT-HHR-SCOPE OF PRACTICE, LOCATED-PDF,RESTRICTED
In Canada, naturopathic medicine is an emerging profession that is gaining formal recognition, including provincial/territorial regulation. While naturopathic medicine has undergone significant growth and legitimization, it still faces substantial challenges to acceptance as a full-fledged health care profession within the Canadian health care system. For example, professionalization theories indicate the importance of clear professional boundaries as well as the need for 'new' groups to find a place in the system of professions. This has been problematic for naturopathic practitioners to continue to practice within a broad scope of practice that encompasses many different therapeutic modalities. Development of statutory regulation also requires delineation of a specific, well-defined scope of practice. The purpose of this study was to describe naturopathic practitioners' perception of their training and their current scope of practice. Two thirds (n=315) of all licensed Canadian naturopathic practitioners responded to the survey. The results showed that naturopathic practitioners are trained in, and practice, a wide range of therapeutic modalities and diagnostic procedures. Practitioners disagreed about their scope of practice, as 57% thought it was too restrictive, 31% felt it was about right and 13% thought it was too broad. A large majority felt there was some or a great deal of overlap with other practitioners' scope of practice. We conclude that multiple challenges are facing naturopathic medicine, including scope of practice, overlap with other professions, social closure, scarcity of vacancies and lack of cohesion. The future of naturopathic medicine will depend on how effectively the profession will use available strategies to overcome barriers to statutory self-regulation.