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Naturopathic Practitioner shares her experience at UCLan

Sharon Gardner is a Naturopathic Practitioner with a BSc in Health Sciences, currently studying her third year MSc Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing. Here she tells us about her experience on the course.

As a practicing naturopath I have always been interested in sustainable approaches to promoting health and wellbeing and wanted to further my education to incorporate more sustainable approaches into my practice. When I began my search for a suitable course, this one stood out for me the most and aligned with my own ethos on how I wanted to move my practice forward once finished.

As a student researcher I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a bigger project which enabled me to have my own project nested within it. My projects focus is on nature connectedness and wellbeing, using free writing as a tool to gather information from participants on their involvement in the overall project. As a naturopath the individual’s subjective experience is a really important area to me, so having the opportunity to use a method such as free writing to gather data aligned well with my practice.

I currently work as a freelancer using my skills to teach both professionally, where I tutor naturopathic students training to work in my field, and at a community level where I teach plant-based nutrition and cookery classes helping individuals to make more sustainable choices around nutrition and food. I also teach Pilates which I use as a tool to help individuals understand the importance of proper alignment and posture on health and wellbeing, in particularly to promote and maintain longevity and positive ageing. So, you could say that I have a very eclectic working life, which I really love.

After graduating I intend to go into consultancy work, combing my naturopathic and health sciences background with my knowledge of sustainability, to help create policies and practices that incorporate and integrate more all-inclusive approaches into the health and wellness arena.

As a naturopath my approach is very holistic and unconventional, therefore undertaking this MSc has challenged me to be more objective in my approach, and a lot more open to scientific and academic research to support my work and practices.

Sharon Gardner, MSc Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing student
Sharon Gardner, MSc Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing student

One of the best aspects of the course is its flexibility. As it is online you are less bound by class times, although there are a few lectures that you will need to attend virtually; however, if you can’t make the sessions there is always the option to catch up via the recording. Also meeting the other fellow students online is great too, as they attend from all over the world, therefore you can gain different perspectives as you share experiences. And the lecturers are really supportive too, which is a huge bonus, especially if you haven’t studied academically for some time or find research challenging.

It is a great course for many different areas of work, and the flexibility of being able to study online and in your own time is really beneficial. However, manage your time well or else you will fall behind which can be quite stressful and challenging if you have lots of other commitments as well.

Sustainable health and wellbeing practices are the future, and we need more individuals to be educated and trained with this knowledge so that we can bring the world into a brighter and more sustainable future.”