A hands-on approach to vets’ job transitions
Patriotic companies across this wonderful land have stepped up over the past decade to give jobs to America’s brave veterans. Their noble gesture is a welcome contrast to the indifference of decades previous, when nobody seemed to care about the person after the uniform came off.
But back then, there were good jobs in abundance. The America of the 21st century has a different economic landscape than that faced by the veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Job growth has been politely described as “anemic,” and a deeper dive into the numbers shows that two-thirds of the jobs created so far in 2013 are part time, low-skilled service positions of the barista variety.
Our veterans deserve better opportunities than that. The problem is that even when taking advantage of generous GI benefits to get a college degree, the discharged or retired warrior is still at the mercy of an economic system that requires increasing specialization and skill to prepare for work in the fields where there is growth.
Health care is a sector where expansion is certain over the next decades, as the baby boom generation ages into retirement and faces the challenges of growing older. Already we are hearing of physician shortages and the need to make the most efficient use of resources. A future where many more Americans have health coverage under Obamacare means increasing demand on a system that is already strained.
The health care crisis is being addressed in many ways, including complementary alternative forms of care that are both efficacious and help relieve the burden on the system. My specialty is naprapathic medicine, a modality that is proven to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability with great effectiveness and without medication.
I have enough work in my own practice to hire a new naprapathic physician tomorrow, but there are too few trained and licensed naprapaths available to fill the demand, even though it is not yet a recognized medical specialty in most states.
But it is sure to grow. When the state of New Mexico approved the licensing and practice of naprapathy in 2004, it required that the profession create a school to teach future practitioners to assure a steady inflow of trained individuals able to provide care in a busy future for health care. Along with a school in Illinois, the Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine is adding to the number of naprapathic physicians, but has room for more students who are able and interested.
Naprapathy is an ideal career opportunity to explore for a veteran with some medical training or interest. It is a scientific yet very humanistic profession, where hands-on treatment brings relief from suffering and restoration of function to many patients.
Most positively, it is a natural treatment based on knowledge of the body and its structures. Its drug-free methodology means no risk of abuse or addiction even as it effectively controls chronic pain.
Many in the military receive instruction in first aid and emergency treatment, and have a basic introduction to anatomy and physiology. Anyone who has felt rewarded by such a chance to be helpful to others may find naprapathic medicine to be a true and worthwhile calling.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved naprapathic education as a course of study for veterans, and will accept certification of VA beneficiaries for the doctoral program to former military personnel who wish to pursue it as a career.
The health care professions are not just jobs, not just a weekly paycheck. They are a path to the future, both for an individual, interested veteran and for our society as a whole.
For those who have served, Naprapathy can be a second career of service and, just like the first, it is both necessary and appreciated.
Dr. Patrick Nuzzo is the founder of Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine.