The Core Elements of Naturopathic Training

In October 2003, the Education Standing Committee of the GCRN published the revised “Core Elements of Naturopathic Training”. This document is part of a wider process of accreditation and forms the skeleton around which the delivery of a course/programme leading to the practice of naturopathic medicine should take place. As such, it delineates the minimum learning outcomes that should be achieved by students.

In terms of content, colleges and institutions are encouraged to go beyond that specified here in the detailed delivery of the programmes they offer. The core elements are designed to cover the essential areas to be covered in naturopathic training, inevitably there will be some overlap and apparent duplication in content. Colleges are not expected to design their programmes using these 8 core element sections as their curriculum document.

The GCRN is concerned with ensuring competent, safe and effective practitioners, aware of the breadth and limitations of naturopathic medicine practice. This document forms the basis for acceptance to the GCRN, whether training has been in the United.Kingdom or elsewhere. It is recognised that each institution would wish to have its own identity and unique emphases. The Education Standing Committee (ESC) of the GCRN encourages institutions to develop their courses so as to include the core elements and to justify their approach against its requirements. Course level The course is expected to be the level of a first degree.

Study Time

The length of study time will depend on the nature of the course. The length should be sufficient to adequately cover all areas of study and produce the desired learning outcomes. It is unlikely that a course of less than three years full time ( minimum 33 week educational year covering approx. 500-560 teaching hours) will achieve these outcomes. Contact with patients is an essential part of study and is expected that this would be a minimum of 400 hours (over the length of the course). (These figures refer to undergraduate courses; a separate document is being prepared for post-graduate courses).

Academic Assessment

Assessment methods must be designed so that the college can satisfy itself that the student has reached the level of competence required for each element. Assessment methods are to be decided by the individual institution but are likely to include short answer assignments, essays, examinations, practical vivas and observations.

Clinical Assessment

Students are expected to develop the ability to deal confidently with the complexities and contradictions that arise in clinical practice. Students must show awareness of the ethical dilemmas, which may occur in their work, and must be able to formulate solutions to these. Clinical skills should be performed consistently and with confidence. By the end of the module, students must show that they are ready to practise naturopathic medicine independently. Students may be assessed in a variety of ways including writing up case histories of patients seen in clinic, completing competency logs, clinic supervisors’ assessments, clinical exams, etc. The assessment process will be designed so that the College is able to satisfy itself that students have developed both the necessary competencies and an adequate level of global competence in naturopathic medicine.

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