by Kate Greenaway, Goonellabah NSW
I have been working in Physiotherapy for over 30 years. I graduated from Sydney University in 1984 and worked in teaching hospitals for the next 2 years. For the following 6 years I worked in private practice, learning as much as I could from more experienced physios, but I found there was a hardness to the way physiotherapy was practised and so I went overseas in search of a more gentle way to treat the whole body.
In Boston, USA, I did courses introducing me to the importance of the connective tissue in the body. I experimented with more gentle ways of releasing this tissue for my many clients that had complex chronic spinal pain.
I came back to Australia in 1997 and moved to the Northern Rivers region of NSW, working in Community Health for 4 years full time and then 4 years part time. I treated the full range of ages and conditions, from babies to the elderly. Since 2002 I have been self-employed, working in a wonderful complementary healing clinic called Universal Medicine in Goonellabah and for 2 years until December 2016 I also worked in a family medical practice nearby. Over the years, I have undergone such a transformation in myself and my work that the way I am with patients, and how I approach my treatments with them now is a world away from even 15 years ago. Continue reading “True Physiotherapy – Part One”
By Cherise Holt, 33, Nurse, Brisbane
The truth is that our bodies are amazing things! We need look no further than the way in which the Digestive System transports matter with consistency, the flow with which our cardiac system delivers blood through the heart and whole body; and our breath cycle and the way our lungs expand is super heavenly when we stop to feel it. The sheer fact that the human body can literally hold and build another body during pregnancy is beyond profound! Deeply exquisite and so intricately detailed is the human frame that we are still learning more about how it all happens and its magnificently intelligent and engineered design.
There is something so harmonious about the human body, its connections between all systems and the grand job description it is dedicated to; whilst it has the natural potential to live it all, coherently and effortlessly with each cell playing its role within the whole.
Our whole bodies really are intelligent, but how often do we really stop to not only appreciate this fact, but to tune in to this intelligence for ourselves; accessing the universal communication that is constantly being offered far beyond physicality – and how would this look?
Continue reading “Presence in the body – Our key to True Intelligence”
Annelies van Haastrecht, community nurse, Voorschoten, the Netherlands
I started nursing at a young age, 17 years old. And if you asked me at that time why I had chosen nursing as a profession I would not have been sure what to answer. It would definitely not have been the answer I would give today. Today I say I have chosen to become a nurse because I love people and I love to care for and nurture them, to give them an insight into how it is to truly be caring and loving for oneself.
I left the healthcare system ten years after I started, without any appreciation for myself, burnt out, not coping with the pressure and the huge demands of the system. I did my utmost to fit in, to please others, unaware of who I truly was and this resulted in me becoming the tough nurse, hardened, in whom everything and everyone else came first. I thought myself and saw around me that this was what nursing was about, but I felt I would never be enough, that I had failed, I had given myself away completely and I gave up… and withdrew from my profession.
Continue reading “Nursing and my new religion”
by Rachel Mascord, BDS, Sydney and Warrawong.
This has been an extraordinary week in my life…a point of endings and new beginnings that have left me raw and vulnerable in a way I’ve rarely allowed myself to experience before.
I submitted my resignation this week. This has been a momentous step because it is the first time I have left a job with no other job to go to. I had held this position for more than 16 years, and a very comfortable nest it became indeed. My comfort in this job lay in the “security” of its tenure, but an uncomfortable and damaging comfort it was. The price I was paying was high; its coinage the toleration of a constant level of low grade disrespect and the sort of subtle abuse that people learn to cope with, in some way or another. After all, it is quite the normal thing in this world…isn’t it? It is an abuse that does not mark the flesh, but rather more insidiously leaves its bruises deep and unseen upon the heart and the being.
Leaving it has felt like I imagine the baby bird must feel as it extends its wings for the first time, surrendering itself from the edge of the nest that has held it safe for so long…
Never have I allowed such a level of open vulnerability in my life. Never have I allowed such a level of surrender, never have I stated that I trust myself so deeply and all of the resource that comes, innate, rich and sourced from deep within me.
Continue reading “Breaking free of the uncomfortable comfort”
by Lieke Campbell, Student Dentist, Ghent, Belgium
I am a dentistry student and in the course of my work, I started developing pain in my neck and back that stayed until the next day, even from working just short periods of time with patients. As a dentist, I have to work in an area that is small (and moving) which asks for precision and attention to detail whilst working with the instruments in the person’s mouth. To be able to see it all, I often find myself going out of the preferred ergonomic position – which is with back and neck only slightly bent – bending and turning my back and neck in all directions. This is the worst position to be in for your back and neck, as it puts a huge strain on the spine and the muscles around it. Even when knowing this fact, not wanting to cause harm to my patient can drive me into going into such a position anyway. Combine this with a little nervousness and tension about treating my first patients and this developed into neck pain. Continue reading “How Connective Tissue Exercises helped my neck and back pain”
by Lieke, Dentistry Student, Ghent, Belgium
You may think that our lifestyle is just what we eat, how much we exercise and whether we smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs, but I have come to understand that there is a deeper level of lifestyle, or livingness, which includes my whole way of living, that has an effect on how I feel and the health of my body.
One of the things that affects me is holding back.
What is holding back?
Holding back, for me, is to not follow through an impulse that is true and from my heart, and instead not doing it or doing the absolute opposite.
Holding back is not doing something my WHOLE BODY is telling me to do.
It is like feeling extremely joyful, wanting to jump and celebrate and totally go for it, and then being nice, courteous and polite and moving slowly instead.
I have been holding back for most of my life, and through the teachings presented by Universal Medicine and Esoteric Healing sessions, I have come to understand – and have now an absolute knowing for myself – that holding back has an effect on my body. A big one. Continue reading “The effects of holding back on my body”
by Matthew Brown, Registered Nurse, Perth, Western Australia
Most of us have seen a GP or been to hospital at some stage, and have had our medical history taken. The usual questions cover a range of illnesses that include most parts of our body. Commonly asked questions are related to blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, heart and lungs, any previous surgery and what type of medication we are on, which may provide a clue to anything else we may have ‘forgotten’ to mention!
I call this the public medical history, the one that is carried around like a backpack, that informs all health professionals just what type of body they are dealing with. These are the problems that are often managed with medication, and the more you are on, and the higher the dose, the greater your problems are.
But there is another history we keep hidden. This secret history is the one we keep really personal and generally don’t share with anyone, or maybe only one other person. These secrets are the vital evidence and the foundation of our ill ways, ill health and poor decisions. They may at first seem irrelevant or even minor, but they are crucial to understanding the person as a whole, and hold the clues to the kinds of events, illnesses or injuries that happen to people.
Those things that we keep secret are the things that we find embarrassing or personal; that we would never share with another. They could range from anything from early childhood all the way through life. There is often a hurt of some kind that holds us back. It may prevent us from either admitting it is there, or we may find a way to completely ignore the feeling associated with it. Continue reading “Our secret medical history”
by Jennifer Smith RN Australia.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a research study. I had completed a survey and was then asked if I would like to participate in an interview as part of a qualitative study on self-care. The research was about exploring the topic of self-care in nurses who work in palliative care and whether this may relate to compassion for self and compassion for others.
I love participating and supporting other nurses, especially when it comes to research, so I jumped at the chance.
The qualitative approach to research, is less about figures and results and more about the experiences and themes of the participants, with a view to establishing a broader understanding of what a group of people’s experiences are on a particular subject. The numbers of participants in qualitative research are often much smaller than with quantitative research and whilst this allows for a richer, in-depth analysis to be performed, there are some factions in science that do not value this and who consider quantitative research superior. Both are valid ways of performing research and are suited to address different research questions and fields of study.
The questions asked were quite broad about how I self-care, how it affects how I am at work, the strategies I use, the things that get in the way of me self-caring and whether or not I had a ‘self-care plan’ and whether a plan is beneficial (this is something that is talked about a lot in palliative care circles). The questions were open so I could really discuss and explore how self-care supports me both personally and most definitely professionally.
Continue reading “The Value of Qualitative Research – Understanding and Expression”
by Cherise Holt, Nurse, Australia
When I was 20 years old, I graduated as a nurse and began to work in a Rehabilitation unit, in a major city hospital. On any shift I would be allocated to approximately 7 patients, all of whom were recovering from surgical procedures, injuries and various illnesses & diseases. They all varied in the amount of support they (and their carers) needed from me, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I worked shift work, usually days, afternoons and weekends and it was not uncommon to work 7 days without a break or have very irregular shifts. I frequently worked until 11pm at night and would then start another shift beginning at 6.30am the next morning. I used to think I had barely enough time to drive home and sleep, let alone take time to wind down properly or bring true quality to my relationship with me (or anyone else!).
I worked hard and I would tell anyone that I thoroughly enjoyed my job. I loved talking to the patients, although found it difficult with those that wanted more of my attention or more solutions from me than I felt I could give. I liked providing care for them, however found that the physical tasks I was doing for them, even the basics of daily care, was becoming tiring on my body.
At age 20, I was already feeling drained by my career; how could this be? Continue reading “Having ideals and beliefs – at what expense to the body?”
by Jennifer Smith, RN, Australia
Today at work I witnessed something very beautiful, although it was something very ordinary. I watched two of my colleagues – two doctors – have a conversation about a patient.
Nothing unusual about this, given that we were all in a hospital. What was beautiful was the way they were with each other and then the patient.
This particular patient had only very recently received a very serious medical diagnosis. There had been a lot of medical assessments, tests and treatments in the previous 48 hours. All of which is often very overwhelming for anyone in this situation.
As I went about my work, organising patients for my day, I saw these two doctors standing together, talking to each other, and one was handing the care of the patient over to the other doctor as they were changing shifts. The thing that stood out the most was how genuinely caring they were, especially in the way they spoke of the person. They were considering everything about this person and their family.
Together they then spoke with the patient in a very ordinary fashion, very professional, but also connected to this patient as another human being.
You may be asking, so what’s so special about this, surely it happens every day?
Continue reading “Two Doctors and a Patient”