Simone is a British physician who has worked at the forefront of osteopathy for over two decades: she started practicing at a time when osteopathy was still classified outside the realms of medicine, as an alternative cure. In addition to being an accomplished osteopath, with two practices in central London, Simone is also the mother of four children – all under the age of 10. Here is her story.
What is your name, age, and location?
Simone Ross, 44, London, U.K.
What is your profession?
I am a cranial and structural osteopath. I see patients with musculo-skeletal pain but I also have a particular interest in musculo-skeletal pain in pregnancy (back, rib and pelvis pain) and newborn babies (reflux, colic, flat heads etc). My partner in the practice is my husband we have 2 Central London Clinics with a team of associate osteopaths. I have also worked in hospitals treating post-natal mothers and newborn babies, which is quite pioneering work in London. My work involves using hands on approaches and advice to get patients out of pain as soon as possible. I enjoy working as part of a wider team both within and outside the practice – ‘integrated approach’ to get the best possible holistic treatment for my patients.
Although, I would not call myself a property developer I have also developed 10 properties in the last 10 years which enables us to work within walking distance of the clinics.
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
I have 3 degrees: a BSC in Osteopathy, a Phil in Complementary Therapies and I also qualified as a Registered Nurse.
What was your first job?
I was in Grange Hill as an extra – a children’s programme for the BBC.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
At the age of 18 I went traveling through Italy and realized that my life was my own and that I could do anything I wanted but did not know what to do. So when I came home I trained to be a nurse as the rest of the men in my family were in medicine but found this incredibly frustrating, as I could not give the standard of care that I wanted to give. I then spent 2 years traveling overland across Africa. I was working there and was introduced to witch doctors and herbs. When I came home to London I knew that I wanted to investigate more and went to Exeter University to do a post-graduate degree in complementary therapies. I then applied for acupuncture college, law and osteopathic college. I got a place in all 3. I decided not to do law as friends told me that it was a difficult profession to combine with having a family, and not to do acupuncture and I was unsure whether it would make me financially independent. I also met my husband there he was already an osteopath. He was and is a very committed practitioner and he certainly influenced my decision at this time.
I have had numerous people who inspired me in my life as a teenager I had a teacher named Vivian Tyrrell who introduced me to self-development and what was then alternative medicine and healing. She also had an incredible ability to encourage me to strive and put myself forward.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
Still loving my job, my children and my husband! No seriously, when I first started in osteopathy we were alternative practitioners. Osteopathy is now known as part of integrated medicine. My practice has always been on the forefront of this as I have always lectured, wrote, and tried to educate people as much as I can about osteopathy. The changes over the last 20 years having been amazing now about 70-80% of my patients are direct medical referrals. Many of the obstetricians, GP’s and spinal physicians in London know about our clinics and I have been on a mission for most of my professional life that pain does not have to be endured during pregnancy and that most of it can be relieved if not managed with osteopathic treatment.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
As I specialize in musculo-skeletal pain in pregnancy and newborn babies, it helps that I can empathize with patients; my experience in delivering babies as a nurse, delivering my own 4 babies and managing the struggles and joys of being a mother and combining that with being a professional.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
Medicine is such a man’s world or was. I have had to push osteopathy and myself for years.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
I don’t have one. This is not for lack of wanting one. I would really love to find a true mentor.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
To give patients the best treatment you can give. Many osteopaths in the UK aim to give patients as little treatment as possible and get patients out of the clinic as soon as possible. Whilst you should get patients out of pain as soon as possible you should address the underlying problems – this brings about long-term changes for your patients and not just a quick fix.
– Interview by Elena Rossini