Self-Reported Disability Competency in Naturopathic Medical Students

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CANDJ The Official Journal of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors


Healthcare providers often feel unprepared to work with patients with disabilities. There have been no assessments or tools developed to evaluate whether naturopathic medical (ND) students also feel adequately prepared to work with patients with disabilities. We created a survey to assess student comfort levels, competency, and training needs. Surveys were completed by 218 ND students. Cronbach’s alpha for all composite scores were >0.90, suggesting that the surveys have internal consistency. Student comfort working with patients with disabilities significantly increased by program year (p=0.02). Competency scores increased by program year, but this increase was not significant (p=0.17). Over 70% of students indicated that they would like more training on this topic. We were able to assess ND student self-reported comfort, competency, and desire for training with regard to treatment of patients with disabilities. Additional work should be performed to improve disability education for ND students.