A career in the health care field doesn’t have to stop after you land the job associated with your degree. Once you gain experience and develop yourself professionally, finding the path that’s best for you can be easy. One person who can confirm this way of thinking is Dr. Xermã Palmares. Dr. Palmares practiced as a doctor and cardiovascular surgeon for over a decade. He later received his Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) and eventually trained as a life coach. Now, Dr. Palmares is working towards the next chapter in his professional life: becoming a naturopathic physician.
ExploreHealthCareers.org (EHC): What sparked your interest in naturopathic medicine? Was there a moment where it clicked or was it something you’ve been considering for a long time?
Xermã Palmares (XP): I started looking into naturopathic medicine while I was dealing with a personal and professional crisis. I wanted to add more to the health care profession and provide better service to my patients, however, due to many structural and personal limitations, I couldn’t do that. I felt stuck.
I reflected on the parts of my career that were important to me, and I realized that I was most happy when I was working with people and improving their health. Outside of work, I began to help organizations, train people and deliver public speeches to bring awareness about specific health topics. I also found myself helping others to overcome personal obstacles and achieve in their personal and professional lives. Because of that, I decided to become a life coach.
In the process of getting trained in life coaching, I was researching other health care fields and saw an advertisement from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). From this search, I found a new career direction that would add value to the health care field and my patients’ lives.
I had always known about acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, orthomolecular medicine and phytotherapy; however, I hadn’t considered being a professional in those fields. When I read about the naturopathic schools and their programs, I became interested in becoming a naturopathic physician. It aggregates many therapeutic modalities, focuses on prevention, and approaches the person as a whole.
EHC: Has your MBA helped you to succeed in your current studies? How?
XP: When I worked as a medical director for two terms in two different hospitals, my MBA provided me with the tools I needed to improve my leadership and organizational skills. I believe that this degree helped me with my overall leadership skills.
EHC: What advice would you give to those considering a major career change?
XP: As Dr. Viktor E. Frankl said, “Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.” Therefore, all of us can achieve fulfillment as we contribute to the wellness and the development of the people around us.