Concurrent study of Eastern and Western medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine: Dual or duel?
Students at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) are eligible to concurrently study both Western medicine, as reflected by the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) program, and Eastern medicine, as exhibited by the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) degree program. The dual track is unique in that the dominant Western approach to medicine parallels the Eastern approach to healing with the latter being accommodated within the Western framework of teaching and learning. The unique set of dual learning experiences presents challenges to students who must make a shift from one paradigm to another in their medical education.
This study highlights the challenges that Western medical education faces when Eastern medicine is concurrently taught using the Western perspective through an examination of the dual medical degree track at NCNM. Preliminary research suggested that students experience educational challenges in pursuing the dual degree track that they did not experience when they pursued the ND program alone. Of interest to this study was the exploration of cognitive and emotional shifts that students must make in order to be successful. Does pursuing this dual track of study lead to a duel for the students?
The researcher found that pursuit of the dual track resulted in a struggle—a duel—for students who had previously been successful in the study of Western medicine. Students found that their existing learning skills were inadequate for dual track study. Students developed a variety of new mnemonic tools and developed new patterns of learning. Students also expressed that they experienced personal growth as a result of dual track study. The researcher suggests that this growth may have contributed to their academic success.
0496: Alternative Medicine
0680: Health education
0745: Higher education