Clare Heggs was The College of Osteopaths’ Rising Star nomination at the IO Awards 2018.
The Rising Star Award is nominated by the osteopathic educational institutions. These osteopaths, who are just joining our profession, will have already demonstrated a passion for osteopathic practice, combined with outstanding academic achievement, clinical skill and patient care.
A warm congratulations to Clare Heggs from all of us at The College of Osteopaths.
Name: Clare Heggs
Qualified from: The College of Osteopaths
Year of qualification: 2018
I had a few changes of career before finding Osteopathy! My first degree was in languages, and after graduating I worked for a large engineering firm in their export department dealing with clients all over Europe. Although I enjoyed my job, I knew that I ultimately wanted to work in a role where I could help others in some way, and so while working there I studied Psychology with the Open University. Following this I worked with young offenders in the Prison Service before moving into primary education where I worked as a teaching assistant aswell as teaching French to children from the age of 4-11 years. I was still working in school when I started my osteopathic degree, but left my job in the third year of the course in order to concentrate on study.
Had you ever had osteopathic treatment? What inspired you to look into osteopathy as a career pathway?
Having osteopathic treatment myself is what inspired me to follow osteopathy as a career. Seventeen years ago I woke up one morning unable to move my neck. Both my GP and the hospital sent me away with strong painkillers but hadn’t got to the root of the problem and couldn’t tell me what was wrong. At that time a relative worked as a receptionist in an osteopathic practice and suggested I go for treatment there. I was so impressed with the care I received – the osteopath was so reassuring and quickly diagnosed me with a herniated disc (later confirmed by MRI) and I was almost fully recovered after just a few weeks of treatment. I knew from that point on that I wanted to become an osteopath, so that I could help people in the same way that osteopathy had helped me, but was unable to take on full time training away from home due to family commitments. It was only years later that I heard about the part-time course based in Stoke run by the College of Osteopaths – without this option, which makes osteopathic training more accessible, I would not have been able to become part of this amazing profession!
What was your greatest concern about embarking on the course & was this founded / overcome?
Without a doubt, training to become an osteopath is the hardest thing I have ever done, but certainly the most worthwhile. The course is very demanding and I was initially worried about how I would balance this commitment with work and family life. I am very lucky to have such a supportive family, who put up with seeing a bit less of me on alternate weekends and during exam times. I told my employers that I was studying osteopathy and they were also very supportive, allowing me to reduce my hours before I eventually left. Having the support of those around me, including the amazing friends I made on the course, is definitely what got me through!
What was your greatest achievement on the course?
I was thrilled to gain a First Class honours for my degree and was awarded the Reg Oakes Prize for first in year in Stoke. I was really delighted to be nominated as The College of Osteopaths’ ‘Rising Star’ at the Institute of Osteopathy’s 2018 Awards – attending the iO’s annual awards dinner to receive this was a real honour and a great way to celebrate five years of hard work!
What do you think osteopaths can offer that is different to other health professionals?
I think an osteopath’s global approach to treatment is key – we don’t focus purely on the symptomatic area but instead assess both the physical body and individual person as a whole to identify root causes and maintaining factors, both internal and external. I think this really sets us apart from many other health professionals. As our appointments are often longer than those of other health professionals, osteopaths also benefit from having more time to spend with patients – to listen, explore and explain – this really helps to build an effective working partnership that empowers patients, enabling them to take an active role in their recovery.
What kinds of patients do you enjoy treating?
I have so far treated a really wide range of patients. I enjoy the challenge of trying to help those in acute pain and it is so rewarding to see the difference that you can often make quite quickly.
The best part about being an osteopath?
Seeing real changes in a person as a whole when you have been able to help reduce their physical pain through treatment – it’s very rewarding and a real privilege to be able to play a part in that.
I have been working as a part-time Associate Osteopath at Flixton Osteopathic Clinic in Manchester (0161 748 0070) since qualifying in June 2018. I have also recently begun a new role as a Junior Clinic Tutor and Clinic Education Support Officer one day per week at The College of Osteopaths’ teaching clinic in Stoke (01782 660 000).