There's one piece of advice that I wish someone had given me before I even started Naturopathic Medical school. This tidbit could be useful for anyone studying medicine, or really, for anyone studying something complex that they hope to be really good at. This is it: find a way to organize your knowledge, and do it persistently for your whole life.
In medicine, like in any large field of knowledge, there is more to know than any one person can. There is more than you could possibly remember. This is why there are specialists, and reference books. But an ND degree is preparation to be a primary care doctor, and in primary care, anything or anyone could walk through that door. You have to be ready. You want to do right by your patients.
To develop deep knowledge you need to approach your subject from lots of different perspectives. To practice naturopathic medicine, you need to understand the conventional approach and something about all the alternatives. You must do the work of sorting through what works, what doesn't work, and what we don't know yet. Sometimes the conventional approach is the best, and sometimes it fails. You need to know that.
But back to that tidbit of advice I wish I'd had. Start your Black Book. The Black Book is a term for whatever system you use to organize your notes about conditions and treatments. I don't know where the term black book comes from, but I do know that Wiccans write out their spells in actual black books. Farmers keep notes on their plantings and when things bloom or fruit, which is how we know that the grape harvest in Napa Valley is a whole month earlier than it was a decade ago. These days my notes are in documents stored on dropbox, accessible anywhere I can get online.
I suggest that every student of Naturopathic medicine begin while you are in school. Ideally you'd start before you are in school, or in your first year, but most students don't because they don't know what information is important, yet. They don't know how to organize it. If this describes your situation, the next post is the How To of the Black Book. You are expected to know not only how the body/mind/spirit works, but also the conventional standard of care, and enough about a myriad of alternatives to pick the best ones for patients who don't want to do what convention dictates.
If you start while you are in school, you can use your black book as a study tool. Make black book pages relevant to whatever therapeutic targets are mentioned. Don't worry if you don't have information for every heading, just put in what you have learned. When you are preparing for yet another test, get the useful bits into your Black Book. Use the clinical board exams as another occasion to build your understanding. Study up on any conditions that you or your dear ones have, because that could well end up being your specialty. Later you will study the same way for your patients, each time one comes in the door with a new concern. Continuing Education requirements are an attempt to force even complacent doctors to update their knowledge. The practice of medicine is best done by life long learners.