After a year of working in clinical practice, naturopath Hope Foley found herself dreaming of combining her client work with a career in research. When Endeavour announced the launch of its Honours degree for Bachelor of Health Science graduates, Hope was one of the first to sign up.
“I was at a point where I was constantly drawn to job ads for research roles, and when I heard about Endeavour’s new Honours program I knew it was the qualification I needed to get my foot in the door. I’ve always been a problem solver, and felt this skill would lend itself well to the world of research,” said Hope.
The 30 year old Brisbane naturopath soon found herself engrossed in the Honours program while still working in clinical practice part-time. When it came to choosing a project Hope delved into the consultation experience for complementary medicine clients, an experience she describes as both intensive and enjoyable.
“It’s been a lovely dual lesson in independence and collaboration which you don’t get in many other fields. I’m learning how to be more independent in the way I direct my work and career, yet I’m also becoming more comfortable and assertive in approaching other people for help,” said Hope.
“These are skills you don’t always think about when going into science. To be an effective Honours student I’ve had to learn to communicate effectively with not just the 300 patients I’m collecting data from, but also with my peers, supervisors and clinic managers all at once.”
It was Hope’s interest in holism and how that translated into practice that drew her to her project on clinical care in complementary medicine.
“I’m assessing the nature of the consultation and the patient’s experience of empathy, empowerment and patient-centred care. I would love to see the results draw attention to some of the strengths of complementary medicine not yet recognised by the wider healthcare community – particularly relating to the treatment of patients with chronic disease,” said Hope.
Hope said she had relished the opportunity to take responsibility for something bigger than herself that came with the Honours degree.
“It is certainly a step up from the level of self-directed work and responsibility I’d taken on previously, and it’s brought out strengths in me I didn’t know existed. I already feel so much more confident as a professional in my field and I know I can hold my own with researchers and scientists,” said Hope.
The natural health practitioner has also developed a newfound confidence relating to her career prospects.
“Before I was dreaming of taking on research assistant jobs, but now I am aiming higher because I know I’ll be able to run research projects myself in the future,” said Hope.
When asked what type of practitioner would benefit from embarking on Endeavour’s Honours degree, Hope’s response was swift and sure.
“Anyone excited by leaving a legacy that will benefit the scientific community and your sector as a whole should consider the Honours year. It is a chance to have an exponential influence in your chosen field. If you’re excited and curious about having your questions answered and contributing to the growing body of complementary medicine research, this is for you,” said Hope.
“I couldn’t recommend it more highly. The course material was beautifully put together and was engaging and easy to take in – I had no idea I was capable of learning so much in a short period of time.”
“The level of support has been amazing – between my supervisor, lecturers, tutors and peers there is practical and moral support at every turn.”
Endeavour College of Natural Health’s Honours degree allows students to develop theoretical and practical skills gained in undergraduate studies and develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a particular modality or area of interest through research and additional course work in a year of specialised study.
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