The main difference is in our background and experience. Nurse Practitioners have a background in nursing and have worked in a broad variety of clinical settings within the health care system. NPs have the skill and knowledge to diagnose conditions, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications. Through integration with conventional health care, Anna (NP) combines her clinical knowledge and broad experience with a functional medicine lens. Functional medicine supports personalized patient care and investigates the root cause of an individual’s symptoms, and employs a widespread of treatment strategies that are tailored to the person. This can include lifestyle improvements, nutraceuticals (supplements) or herbal medicine, nutritional changes, prescriptions if indicated, and occasionally further diagnostic testing is required to investigate further. It is a comprehensive, holistic approach.
Naturopathic Doctors have a background in naturopathy (the study of natural medicine) and work in private clinics. They learn about homeopathy and botanical medicine, which are forms of complementary/alternative medicine that involve herbs/plants. They also learn about acupuncture, which has its origin in Traditional Chinese medicine. They use all the different modalities in their treatment plans. Most have an area of focus/ specialty area in their practice. Their ability to order diagnostic tests in the health care system is limited to bloodwork and they have a limited list of drugs they can prescribe. Not all NDs have the authority to prescribe as it requires extra certification.