Member spotlight - Kristen Plunkett, ND
Thursday, May 16, 2019
How are you currently using your ND? What is your primary focus area of practice?
I practice primary care medicine full time in Grants Pass Oregon. The majority of my patients have digestive or hormonal complaints, but I see anything from colds to adjunctive cancer care and everything in between.
What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
Feels like a small-town country practice. We see the whole family and extended family and develop relationships with our patients.
How is OANP valuable to you and your profession?
I appreciate what the OANP is doing to further our scope of practice and our reimbursement. It was discouraging to see that insurance pay us 40-50% less than Physician Assistants, who only go to school for 2 years after their undergrad degree and have a fraction of our debt. I fully support the OANP and their goals.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
Recently, one of my patients that has been working with many different provider types said she is the most balanced hormonally as she has ever been and she has been working on it for over 15 years. I greatly appreciate the love patients show and their appreciation of being heard and taken care of.
Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
I enjoy teaching my patients about their diseases and educating them on how to be healthy again. I have no desire to be the type of doctor that sees 30 patients a day. I love the multiple modalities we can work from to help our patients.
Who is the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
Deborah Frances, ND, took me in when I was in undergrad and let me volunteer at her office pressing herbs and helping around the office. She taught me a lot about herbs and homeopathics. Dr. Ellen Heinitz also has taught me a lot about how to practice. She allowed me to join her practice right out of medical school and mentored me along the way.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Running a successful business, paying off my student loans in 10 years. Also receiving referrals from other providers and specialists in my hometown has really helped me feel accepted in the medical field.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
Consider working in rural areas. We greatly need providers in small towns. I have been looking for a ND to join my practice for the last 6 months! I have more patients than I can see and really need another ND to join me but have been unsuccessful in drawing any away from larger cities. Your practice will build faster in a rural area than trying to compete with other NDs in larger cities. Also, even though your adrenals are fried, you need to spend some time on marketing and getting your name and what you do out to the community. Have confidence in what you know! We change lives through educating our patients instead of just medicating. Patients love what we do!
What is your definition of “happiness”?
Finding the balance between helping others and spending time with my family and doing things I love such as softball, volleyball and hiking. PEACE!