Purehealth Clinic has now been going for almost 14 years. Can you believe that! It started in a tiny room in a fitness centre, evolved into a full-blown naturopathic clinic in Lancashire and, since then, has been largely a home office and online business. So, now it is about to change again!
I took the tough decision 18 months ago to stop taking on new patients to effectively reduce my case load. What has actually happened is that I am just as busy as I ever was with giving support by email, via reports, on the blog etc! Oops. I can’t seem to stop being so helpful ;).
It’s simple maths: there is only one of me and thousands of you and I simply can’t keep up with everything. I have to make some choices. Currently, I get almost 200 emails a day, do the tests, reports, case reviews, the massive amount of work those generate, spend much of my time researching, then writing blog posts (this last one took me just over 4 hours to read, digest and write-up, for example), articles, resources, ebooks etc etc etc. Phew, I am exhausted just reading that list, let alone doing it all! Let’s face it, I will be no good to any of you in a heap on the floor 😉
‘Tis my own fault. Most people who author a book don’t say “here’s my email if you need me;” they’d be inundated. Many of my experienced and busy colleagues hide their contact details; it’s just taken me a while to realise why, dur! This will be the third time I have tried to cut the work down and it always creeps back up. Lovely compliment, thank you, but I clearly am too soft to just do ‘a bit’. The bit always grows as I can’t help helping! It basically means I am surrounded by tons of things to research, write and do but they sit there and sit there and sit there, staring at me accusingly.
So, things have gotta change and I will need to be tougher with myself. Being totally honest, P has been nagging me to lower my workload and stress levels for some time: he’s worried about me, bless him. And, I have to say, for the first time in ages, I do actually feel overwhelmed by it all. I have a massive capacity for work but it’s even beaten me!
So, what can we do?
Honestly, I have no idea yet. I’m terrified of how I will pay my bills – I’m the main breadwinner and the vast majority of my income comes from 1-1 work. But, I have always believed that, if what you are doing is helping people, things have a way of working themselves out. Ever the optimist ;). I may come screaming back looking like a hobo, having dined on cat food for a month.
No more 1-1…
Clearly, I can’t continue to do everything. I don’t want to take on staff with premises again really because I would then still not have time to do the other work; I’d be managing a clinic, staff, therapists, mentoring, admin etc again (which I loved, actually, so I have toyed with the idea more than a little; perhaps later on when all the resources are done). So, after 14 years of full time practice, I am hanging up the 1-1 consultation hat in a bid to, as they say: ‘work smarter’.
It’s the 1-1 work, now that cases are much more complex, that really takes the time. There is a HUGE amount of work that you don’t see (quite rightly) that goes on behind the scenes before I answer one of your emails/respond to a call/see you. I have to read previous correspondence, look at test results, put you into context, consider your questions – and there are usually a lot of them 😉 – and then consider the reply in your specific type of case, write the response, add any links to resources, check it for safety, accuracy etc etc etc.
After that, I have to file the response so I can find it again and add any notes to remind me of what I was thinking in your case. I do charge for some of that time, but I never get chance to do anything else. That’s why it has to be the 1-1 work. I think, realistically, it is a choice between doing all consultation work or none at all. I’ve tried it the first way. I’ve tried doing a bit and cutting down. It hasn’t worked, so now I’m trying none. Gulp.
Anyway, many people are coming to the realisation that traditional so-called ‘Bums on Seats’ clinics are not a very smart way to work. There are only so many ‘bums’ you can, er, fit in, and we should be hitting many more people with targetted information and encouraging self-help. Anyway, if you do want 1-1 help, there are plenty of people you can go and see. Just not me, for now.
I’m not saying it’s forever; I may miss you and fling myself weeping and lonely back into consultation work in future, but, for now, I am going to concentrate on research, spreading the TGF word and the provision of the resources we all need to get well.
Helping each other…
I will still be here on the blog to chat with you in comments and I may set up a forum or Purehealth Facebook group so we can all help each other. I will act as moderator as and when I can. I may also hold some online Support Days, Blog Q&As or physical events on an ad hoc basis; we’ll see how it pans out. I’m not going to completely disappear!
Plans and Resources…
Essentially, you have a ton of resources on the Purehealth site and on here in almost 800 posts!! And, part of me giving up the consultation work is so I can review and augment the Purehealth site pages for you, adding extra resources I think might be useful. I have been trying to get to that job for over 2 years! I will be SO pleased to get to, say, prostate problems, the thyroid book, the preconception plan etc. Judging from the response to the Adrenal and Gut plans, you like what I’m producing and they are really helping. I also get very few queries from them because I made them so comprehensive – result!
I will continue to run the testing service for you.
In terms of other people to see, I will try and recommend people for you if I come across any I think are particularly good at a specific subject and list them for you. Otherwise, you can find people at www.bant.org.uk (general, biggest body, all types of nutritionist) or www.nna-uk.com, where you will find naturopathic nutritionists, like me, or functional medicine practitioners at www.functionalmedicine.org. In reality, I am a sort of mix between naturopathy and functional; a naturopathic nutritionist (all about the gut, detox, re-establishing equilibrium) but using functional testing to help target that.
That’s all I have worked out for now! If you have any ideas or advice, very welcome!
Meantime, I am sorry if this inconveniences anyone – it’s for the greater good of all of us and me, of course! – and please help each other out in comments/the forums etc as and when I launch them. I’m sorry it’s a bit sudden. I will finish what I have in my inbox and then start the new approach from then.
Thanks for your understanding, friendship and support. To the next clinic era…fewer bums but more of you helped!