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Our journey!

When I meet people I always get asked....."what made you start your business?" so I thought I would share the journey so far!

I was expecting my third child and my husband and I were talking about how the children were growing up so fast and that you never get that time back with them when they are so small. I had always been very career driven within the NHS with being a specialist physiotherapist and also being a health and safety representative for the CSP. I was passionate about helping not only the patients, but also the colleagues that I worked with and representing their views. After receiving the Representative of the Year for the UK in 2015 I always felt I had to live up to that reputation and enjoyed the challenges that it faced . But after having the family discussion with my husband, it made me think that family really does comes first and that this time was precious, it was time to take a step back and have a two year career break after my maternity leave.

After Caitlin arrived and in the first year of my career break I was unfortunately diagnosed with a rare condition of having two urethral diverticulums with four large masses around my bladder. I required specialist reconstructive surgery to remove them in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. It was an awful, challenging recovery which really put life into perspective. Thank goodness, the masses were benign but I had a long recovery in which I was nursed at home and my mood had never been so low. My family were an amazing support and always brought me to a smile even in the darkest days. I started to think.......... I need a positive project to give my mind something to focus on, plan, think about the future, what do I really want to do with my life? The past three months had shown me that life really can be too short, and sometimes when you least expect it, therefore it was time to live life to the full!!

During my first year of my career break from the NHS, I was required to do keep in touch days in the hospital. This was when the NHS was still helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Things had totally changed, as soon as a patient was medically fit they had to be discharged no matter what their functional ability was, they needed the beds. Previously the physiotherapist would be consulted on somebody's rehab potential and what we thought they could achieve. Also, if a patient was discharged and we felt there was further need for ongoing rehab we could refer to day hospitals, falls prevention classes and outpatient services. Now the services are more limited due to being closed because of the pandemic. I didn't feel I could be the physiotherapist I wanted to be, this both saddened and frustrated me. So when I was lying in my recovery bed, I reflected upon my career and experiences I had felt during my keep in touch days. This made me realise that I had to make a change. I wanted to help patients reach their full rehabilitation potential and really make a difference to peoples quality of life. That's why I trained to be a physiotherapist all those years ago!

I wanted to reignite my passion with my physiotherapy career, so I sat and thought how can I spark that flame. I had always had an idea of providing physiotherapy for people in a different way to clinic setting. This was when I contacted the Business Gateway with my idea of providing physiotherapy in patient's homes. Over the years running the neurological outpatient service in Liberton hospital patients would be tired with a journey of getting ready and coming into clinic. Why should people have to go into hospital or a clinic to receive specialist services? Why not take the specialist services to them in their home environment? It's within the home that people experience their challenges and difficulties with their symptoms, so this should be the ideal place for physiotherapy to help them achieve their goals. So the next step was where do I start and how!! We don't get taught business management in university!!

So I contacted the Business Gateway to help guide me through the process with business planning, I worked hard on creating a brand and a website!! All new skills for me and a massive learning journey!! This helped re-ignite my career flame, my passion, my purpose in my career, it was time for a new start. I had to find the strength to be brave to take this leap of faith, and leave the comfort of the NHS to start my own business journey!! I was able to create the ideal work-life balance, where I could be mummy and take the kids to school and pick them up, I could be a supportive wife and help my husband in farming life with our flock of Pure Suffolk sheep, all while being the physiotherapist I wanted to be - helping people across the Scottish Borders improve the quality of life.

I have never looked back or regretted my decision to leave the NHS. Now I can give patients the time and quality of physiotherapy input that they deserve, and the outcomes that I've helped them achieve has been so rewarding. As the business journey progressed, the demand for HomePhysio by Nicola services grew. After only five months of starting the business. The waiting list was 14 weeks and it was time to advertise for a physiotherapist to join the team!

Once again, a steep learning curve began! Having the confidence to employ a member of staff to join the team, and all the responsibilities that come with that in writing job descriptions, policies, risk assessment, but as daunting as these challenges were the excitement of the business growing kept the passion glowing! Shona joined the team in January 2023 and and as a valuable member of HomePhysio By Nicola Ltd!

So my message at the end of this lengthy personal blog post is -

Be inspired,

Have a dream, and most of all

Believe in yourself!

Everything happens for a reason, stay positive and reach for the stars! Our journey has only just began and we, as a team now, are passionate about continuing to grow!

I hope this helps inspire others 😊.

Nicola x

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