A few years ago, I had the misfortune of injuring my right leg after a slip and a fall during a fitness workout. I was left with reduced mobility, unable to stand or sit, and was spending most of my days laying in bed. Back then, I was working in the ER, working out 5 days a week, and taking care of my two young ones at home. The injury forced me to slow down, become dependent of others and be limited in my daily activities. Needless to say, I was feeling very depressed. It took me months to recover from this injury. During that time, I did some soul searching… (or maybe it was “sole” searching? haha)
I realized then that your feet are the foundation of your body and your wellness. Foot injuries or poor foot health can really impact your daily life. Reduced mobility, independency and balance are no joke; the mental health impacts are greater than we think they are. A few months later, when I returned to the ER in my speeding “skates”, I learned that as a Registered Nurse, I could advance my practice and specialize in lower limband foot care for nurses. Even better, I would be privileged to start my own practice. I enrolled into the program and never looked back.
Let’s fast forward to today. I have learned so much and never stop learning. Our feet are truly the foundation of our body, but are they ever so neglected!? My role as a nurse is to promote health and wellness and prevent disease and complications. I always tell my patients: “Even if I have specialized my practice in foot care, I’m still a registered nurse with close to 9 years of nursing experience in acute and critical care. I don’t just look at your feet, I look at the overall person. That’s what we do as a Nurse. We know everything is connected. For example, when changing a wound dressing on a diabetic, I will ask them about their blood sugar management, their nutrition, their footwear, their levels of activity, etc”. There is always an alarm going off in my head, and while I discuss with my patients, I’m connecting the dots in developing their care plan.
I’ve worked for over 10 years in the public health care system. In the ER, I would see people at their worst state. No one comes to the ER because they’re having a great day. Shifting my practice into the wellness industry has been quite a journey. I never wanted to work by myself, and naturally as a Nurse, we always work in a team. Natural Sole Wellness Centre was then born. Starting my own practice meant I needed to build a team, and to offer our community a wellness centre using a “Soul to Sole” approach. And did I mention that my team is AMAZING! I will need to write an homage for all the wonderful souls who have helped me bring Natural Sole to life because it was not a one-woman show. To my partner, my parents, my team, … I feel like I’ve won an oscar.
Being a Nurse and Women owned Business had people turn their heads at me, and asking me twice “Really, you can do that?” and “I didn’t know that existed!”. But what do I hear the most? “You provide your care in a clinic, why not in people’s home?” and “Do you only provide care to seniors and diabetics?”
Let’s bust a few myths!
Really, you can do that: You can do ANYTHING you put your heart and soul into. Success comes from vision, belief, trust, persistence, passion, willingness, and 5 cups of coffee a day. Let’s be honest. Always surround yourself with people who bring a positive and good energy, and just make you feel great. I promise you, you will be motivated and driven.
I didn’t know that existed: Nurses in Independent Practice do exist. There is increase demand in community health care, but there are many gaps. Who better than Nurses to start their practice, bridge those gaps and provide access to health care to their communities? Right? If you wish to learn more, I highly encourage you to visit the Ontario Podortho Nurses Association (https://www.opnassociation.ca/) and the Canadian Association of Self-Employed RNs (https://www.case-rns.ca/). Our associations are working hard at raising awareness about the important role nurses play as independent health care providers. I, myself, have spoke and presented in front of many organizations and leaders in advocating for our nurses and those who benefit from nursing care. I could write all day about the science of nursing, leadership skills, interprofessional communication skills, clinical judgement… but I will control myself.
You provide your care in a clinic, why not in people’s home: Yes, I provide care in my clinic. Our clinic offers free parking, easy access and private treatment rooms. My room is equipment with my “fancy chair” (those who’ve tried know 😉 ) – which allows proper ergonomics and comfort. I have all of my tools and supplies and have direct access to my sterilization room. I also have proper ventilation in the clinic with a HEPA filter to trap any pathogens. Providing care in a clinic offers a safe and controlled environment for both the patient and I. I would eventually like to expand my team and have nurses trained in providing safe home care to people who are less mobile and unable to leave their homes for medical appointments. One project at a time 😉
Do you only provide care to seniors and diabetics: Foot care is for everyone. I have seen patients from the ages of 4 to 97. As nurses, we all trained to work with different age groups, communities, minority groups, etc. I do see seniors and diabetics, as they are at risk of foot complications. However, I have seen teenagers and adults of all ages with ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, foot pain, cracked heels etc. Foot problems don’t have an age bracket. Again, foot care is for everyone and prevention is the best medicine. I always say: “We get our vision and teeth checked routinely, why not our feet? They’re kind of a big deal!”
Here’s my story in a nutshell. If you have met me, you know I that I’m passionate about providing care to my patients. I prioritize my patients’ best interest and needs in their care plan, while providing a collaborative approach for better access to care. But my focus is also based on preventive care, self-management and health teaching, because knowledge is power. You are the leader of your health and wellness journey and I’m your guide. In other words, you’re the driver, I’m your GPS. (Actually, never ask me for directions, I’m truly awful at this and you will get lost!)
All jokes aside, the quote that inspired me to start this journey and never give up is the following for S. McNutt: “Fall in love with taking care of yourself”. On that note, I will let you think about this one!
Sarab Dormani, RN