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ASK A PRO | Osteopathic Manual Practitioner

Professional Title:

Osteopathic Manual Practitioner

Can you share your career journey and how you arrived at your current position? Please include education, volunteering, work experience, etc.

I read an article about the benefits of Massage Therapy, this would have been in 1990 or so, and I just knew instictively that it was an up and coming profession. I had a grade 12 education but with Massage Therapy courses only offered at private private colleges at the time, that's all you needed to get into the program. Fast forward to 2005 when I wanted to continue my education because my hands were getting sore, I started the Osteopathic program because again, it was an up and coming profession, basically the next step in continuing ed. In 2020, I started a nutrition course because I saw a need to help people from the inside out. Again, the realization that what we are eating is causing all sorts of health issues I thought this could be another way to help people be healthier.

What motivated or inspired you to pursue this field?

Maybe I have a knack for knowing what the up and coming industries might be and this was a way to help people without taking the university route to be a medical professional, which just didn't seem to be an option for me.

Were there specific challenges or obstacles you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

There will always be challenges and obstacles. Financially you sacrifice some little luxuries, personally you sacrifice social time with family or friends so you can study, and physically there will be the stress of sitting at the computer completing projects and sacrificing exercise time so you can finish assignments. I was lucky enough to have the support of my family.

What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?

When someone says "thank you, you have really helped me." Knowing you helped someone in some way is very rewarding.

What aspects of the job do you find challenging or less enjoyable?

Sometimes being self-employed is challenging. You have to wear a lot of hats which means knowing when to wear your book-keeping hat, your social media hat, your Human Resources hat and your personal cheerleader hat.

What advice do you have for someone starting in this field?

Like any new path, say yes to a lot of opportunities but also be clear on who you want to work with or the direction you want to head in. You won't get to where you want to be if you don't have a destination in mind. This particular field is a service and being available when others are available might mean working till 8 pm or a Saturday.

Are there specific skills or qualities you believe are crucial for success in your profession?

Listening and communicating skills are important. People need to be heard and their concerns validated. Manual therapy is a very personal space for people and being able to show care and compassion is non-negotiable. It can't be just about the money. Clients will feel that in the way you interact with them.

How do you stay current in your field, or do you engage in ongoing professional development?

There are mandatory continuating education credits that are required yearly through webinars, conferences and online courses. I also go to Toastmasters meetings which is an organization where you can build confidence and effective communication skills.

Did you have any mentors or role models who influenced your career choice?

Not really. I can honestly say my paths were because I saw a need and I wanted to be a part of that.

If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

My advice? Don't take advice from anyone. No-one knows what the heck they're doing, just do your own thing. (That was a quote from a 90 year old and that is partly true.) Stay in your own lane. Concentrate on yourself and stop worrying what other people think. It's not just time-management. It's about self-management and pay your taxes on time. If only my younger self did those things...

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