BEHIND DIAMOND PHYSIOTHERAPY: WITH NICOLA ROBERTSON
I have been a physiotherapist…well let's say for a little while. I do not think that my experience makes me any better than the next practitioner. In fact I question more, read more and change how I do things more now than I ever did as a new graduate.
I left university with somewhat of a “I can cure all” attitude and there was no harder landing than the first time I simply couldn’t help that patient. It was a real punch in the stomach and a bit of a wake up call that maybe I did not have all the answers.
Healthcare professionals are generally respected for their knowledge and skills, but that simply does not mean we know it all or can always fix you.
When I graduated I thought that giving a client the correct combination of exercises, machines and maybe some tape or acupuncture would cure them of all their pain and restrictions but soon realized this was not the case. I became frustrated and disillusioned with the way many people wanted me to practice; seeing 3 – 4 clients per hour and never really scratching the surface of what was really going on.
Everyone wanted a pill, a magic cure and I simply didn’t have it.
I embarked on some extra training in pelvic health and chronic pain management and I started to realize that my job is to listen to and appreciate what is important in my client’s life. To do this I needed time and to ultimately set up my own practice…. So Diamond Physiotherapy was born.
I changed the way I practiced. I got rid of the machines and gadgets, and I reduced my use of acupuncture and tape. I started to work with clients to develop a program that was tailored to their needs, and ensure that what we are trying to achieve was realistic and also to keep them motivated.
My goal is to promote independence and self efficacy. In other words, I don’t plan to see you in the clinic forever.
By giving people some control over their injury, whether it be a problem with incontinence, an ankle sprain, chronic low back pain, improving self esteem/confidence, improving their mood or addressing body awareness, I believe this control provides clients long term management rather than short term fixes.
Healthcare providers in all areas must address the ongoing issue of mental health and the effect this has on physical well being. I believe physiotherapists have a very important role to play here. By providing longer one on one appointment times in the clinic, with my Diamond Physiotherapy team, we have proven this way of practicing successfully supports this.
Stepping into pelvic health and developing my skills in chronic pain management has allowed me to be more confident. I find myself able to listen and focus more on your story, and what makes your situation unique. After all, you are the star player in your team, I am simply your coach.
Diamond Physiotherapy was my way of changing my professional path and allowing me to provide more than a temporary fix for my clients. It has provided me with an amazing team who push and support each other every day. It continues to bring me some of the most amazing and hardworking clients who have taught me more than I have ever taught them.
Do I solve every issue, every ache and every pain? Do I always get it right?
Absolutely not. But I learn something every day and I adore my career more now than I did in the beginning!