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Mentoring: delivering innovation through technology with Geraldine Headley

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Mentoring: delivering innovation through technology with Geraldine Headley

What do you do when your skills as a mentor are in such demand that there are not enough hours in the day to help them all?

Today we're joined by Geraldine Headley to talk about how her career grew organically to develop her own mentoring system. Faced with the realisation that she would need to diversify her business model so she could reach more people, Geraldine had to innovate. And innovate, she did. Geraldine shares with us her career journey, the systems she has developed and how it all culminated in embracing available technology to design, and soon deliver her first Paediatric Online Summit.

Geraldine also shares her vision for her educational events to fund a scholarship program so she may give back, through continuing professional development, to her professional peers who would benefit from the financial support.

Covered in this episode

[00:37] Introducing Geraldine Headley
[01:22] Geraldine's diverse career progression
[06:18] The evolution to naturopathy
[11:22] Overcoming the "quick-fix" mentality
[13:30] Becoming an educator and a mentor
[18:36] Reaching more people online
[23:09] Developing a mentoring system
[29:03] The Paediatric Online Summit
[34:52] Scholarship Graduate Program


Andrew: This is FX Medicine, I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us on the line today is Geraldine Headley. Integrating 25 years of paediatric nursing with a decade of naturopathy, Geraldine uses her knowledge, humour, and skill set to support both fellow practitioners and families around the globe. Welcome to FX Medicine. Geraldine, how are you?

Geraldine: I'm great. Thank you for having me. It's brilliant to be here.

Andrew: Now, the first thing I have to congratulate you on is happy birthday.

Geraldine: Oh, thank you. Thank you. I've had the flowers, I've had the hair done. I'm very happy.

Andrew: And you have to work. You have to do a podcast. Something's not right with your day.

Geraldine: I'm coping. It's great to be able to chat, Andrew. I don't mind it at all.

Andrew: First of all, can you take us through a little bit of your nursing history, because it's quite extensive. You've nursed around the world, and several hospitals. Tell us what happened?

Geraldine: Okay. So when I was at school, you know, I wanted to be a nurse. And my mother said, "No, you don't want to do that. You’ll get a bad back." So that was like off the cards…

Andrew: Ain't that the truth?

Geraldine: Yeah. Ain't that the truth? And so I just went my own way, you know, you go overseas and you end up traveling. And I was in Nepal and I met this group called Healing the Children, and they were doing cleft open palate surgery. So I hung out with them. I didn't really do anything, I hung out with them. And then I went to the U.K. and did lots, and then I thought, "I'd still quite like to be a nurse, you know?" And then I thought, "Well, I better find out." 

So I got back in contact with all these surgeons and ended up going to El Salvador and helping them out. Because I wasn't a nurse. But helping them out. I thought, "What if I don't like blood?'' You know, can't be nurse if you don't like blood. And, well, I mean, like it, but, you know, not dislike it.

Andrew: I know what you mean.

Geraldine: Yeah. So I ended up in El Salvador helping them in the theaters. And I thought, "Yeah, you know what? I can do this." And went back to the U.K. and trained to be a nurse. So I trained in Wales, in Cardiff, at the Prifysgol, and then moved to Nottingham. And I actually first of all moved into oncology, so it was cleft open palate, which is what I'd been doing, which is what I'd seen in El Salvador and in Nepal. And then I went out into the wards, and in the U.K. you qualify and you go out and run the ward. 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: There's no interim, there's no, you know, graduate year or anything else. The last six weeks of your training, you run the ward that you are allocated on, and then off you go.

So there I was in Nottingham, running a ward, newly qualified, thinking, "Oh my goodness, golly, gracious, gee whiz, this is a nightmare." I had 30 patients, myself and one other qualified nurse, and two auxiliaries. And I've got three pancreatitis, one lady died…

Andrew: My god. 

Geraldine: One lady just come off specialing that I was suctioning every half an hour, you know, and it was people going to theater and coming back, and it was just, and it was like that everyday. That was the penultimate day and I just went home to my then boyfriend, now my husband, and I said, "I can't do this. I don't think I can do this. I just have to go back to working in restaurants and stuff." 

And he said, "There's signs up all over the hospital for neonates, why don't you do that?" All right, then. I'll do that. Anything. I've got to get off the ward. I can't do the ward. And I got off and went into neonates and intensive care and special care of the newborn. And then I'd still work all around the hospital, but then I ended up of course, working more and more in paediatrics, and then I was working in theaters, and in intensive care. So that's what I did.

Then I came to Australia, and I went to Melbourne, first of all, and I worked there at the Children's. I went back to the U.K. and I went to research for a while, because I just had a little baby, and then I was in New Zealand. I was back and forth, back and forth, all over the place. 

And then I ended up in Adelaide, and I worked in theaters here in recovery. And I just thought, "Well, it's not as good as intensive care, and I might just do something else. And what shall I do?" And I had a shiatsu massage many, many, many moons ago, and I thought, "Maybe I’ll become a shiatsu therapist?" And you couldn't learn to do that in Adelaide, I phoned around, and they said, "No, no, we don't teach that." 

Andrew: Right. 

Geraldine: They said, "But you might like this other thing called naturopathy." "Well, okay then." So I wandered up to the college and trained to be a naturopath, then nutritionist, then herbalist.

Andrew: What does your boyfriend, or husband by this stage, think of this?

Geraldine: Um, well, he was just like, "You know, you're still bringing in the money to cover it. Do what you want to do. You're all good." And then some of the things he was a little bit like, "Are you sure?" But he never says anything, never said anything. And he just let me come to my own conclusions. And I just go on, that isn't ready for me, because I'm still really quite medical in the way I look at things and feel about things. So it was like no, that's not really me. But I could use the way we talk about that for something else. 

So I've integrated things in that I've learnt that I don't actually use, but I figured out, you know, I don't do iridology, but people say, "Aren't you going to look into my eyes?" And I look into their eyes and go, "Well, you've got really good fibres. It shows an amazing constitution, and I know that we can work really well together." I learned to do it, but it was so long ago, I can't remember what goes on in the eyes. And I know people do it really, really well. And I don't want to mess with that, so I just integrate some of those lines into how I can make sure that my clients are on board and do what I need them to do. Yeah.

Andrew: Now, let's talk about your evolution from what this thing called naturopathy was to what you understand naturopathy is today.

Geraldine: Well, I mean, I had no clue. I had absolutely no clue. I had eczema on my hands, I had terrible eczema from the hand washes in the hospitals, but I had no clue what it was. And I'd seen things in the hospital. People would come in and, you know, they'd say, "Well, they've got this something wrong." And then you'd say, "Well, why don't you do this, or why don't you do that." And they'd say, "Oh, no, no." 

Oh, the best example. Diabetic ward when I was training. So this is 25 years ago. And the diabetics, at night, we gave them a digestive biscuit and a glass of orange juice.

Andrew: Right.

Geraldine: Every diabetic. So they didn't have a hypo overnight. So that was normal. And there was one guy there, and I went to give him his digestive and his orange juice, and he said, "No. I've actually got nuts and seeds here and I'm going to eat those." I was like, "Really? Wow. Okay." We did his blood in the day time, and his sugar was too high, he said, "I'm going for a walk." I thought, "Really? But, don’t you… oh, okay. Oh, I don't know what to do now.” 

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. 

Geraldine: This is not…

Andrew: Outside of our…

Geraldine: And it's so different. So different.

So of course, you come to naturopathy, and it's like, well, let's look at the whole person, because that's the other thing. There I was in the hospital and you're working on a specific area, doing a specific thing, and that's all you're learning, and that's all you're knowing. Yes, you're doing lots of other things too, but you're getting really zoned in on one thing. 

And so that's why I liked working all over the hospital. Because then I'd see all sorts of different things, and work with all sorts of different problems. But you come to naturopathy and it's like whole person, you know? Right back, when did this first start? What happened? Let's go, you know, I work a lot on timelines, and I get, you know, the students, I'm like, "Come on, what's the timeline with this? When did this happen?" "Oh, they had, you know, glandular fever when they was 17, and everything's been going..." Let's go right back to then and see what we can do, you know, is that still active? Whereas, you know, you don't do that in medicine so much. It is, yes, it all happened then, but it's symptomatology now, at this point. 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: That's how medicine ends up sometimes. 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: Not always, and not with everyone. But that's what can happen.

And whereas within naturopathy we go, "Okay. Right back here. What happened here? How can we go back right back to first base and figure out from here?" So that's why it takes so much longer. And we would always of course say, you know, it's one month for every year you've had a problem for some sort of resolution. 

So if you've got a chronic illness that you've had for 30 years, don't be thinking I've got the magic wand. Panadol ain't going to cut it. You know? We've got to go all the way back, we've got to look at all of these issues, everything you're taking, you know, your nutrition, changing… getting you on kale today won't get your bloods right tomorrow.

Andrew: No. 

Geraldine: You know? And so that's what I really like about the naturopathy. It's this whole person, whole world, their whole world. Because that's what you're looking at. You're looking at everything, you know, from their lifestyle, their environment, what they've done, where they've been. And you know, I don't do loads of testing. I do a very deep questioning. And I get them to tell me all about themselves, and find out about them. Because, yes, we can test, but we're going to miss certain things. 

And if it was Epstein-Barr when they were 17 and they're now 35, and they've never been well since, will that come up on the bloods? Loads of people it will come up on bloods to say yes, they’ve been exposed. But that's not going to say, yes, that's the problem. Yes, that's what we've got to deal with. Yes, that's where we have to go back….

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: To find out what the problem is. And that's what I like about naturopathy. It's exciting. Because you've got this whole person, and everything about them, and all their life, their environment, everything. And that's what I found so different.

And, of course, it wasn't end stage. You know, a lot of work I was doing, fine, not in neonates. That was actually very positive. You know, premature babies and it's really positive because you hand them to their mothers and off they go. And yes, they'll have ongoing problems, some of them, but not all of them. 

But working in adult medicine, oh, you know, they're just getting worse. Whereas working in naturopathy, they come to you and they go, "Okay. The doctors just told me they can't do anything." Or, "Yes, they can do something. It's just another medication, and I don't want to take another medication." It's like, right. Okay. And then they say, "You know, the itch is gone, the rash is gone, Geraldine. I could, actually, you know, when I drove that 300kms to see Geraldine, I actually managed to drive back okay because I wasn't in so much pain." I think, maybe we can do this online? 

Andrew: Yeah, oh, right. 

Geraldine: You can just ring me. But, you know, it's like these people have come all this way and then they are able to go back and call me and go, "Wow. I feel so much better. Thank you."

Andrew: How do you overcome the preponderance for a quick fix to get the patients to focus on the long game?

Geraldine: Oh, it is so hard, isn't it? And they're all different. So I always say to them, "How long have you had this for? Did Panadol work? Because that works in four hours then I've got nothing called Panadol.”

Andrew: Paracetamol.

Geraldine: I got nothing. Sorry, paracetamol. I've got nothing that works, and pulpiteer is what I've been using for people instead. The herb. 

But, you know, it's so different. And you have to say to them, "This isn’t… I haven't got an instant wand. Some things will work really quickly. You know, this magnesium is actually going to work really quite quickly for a number of your problems, but it's not going to work for all of them." And you also have to understand where they're coming from and what they want, their expectation is. 

So I always describe it as, one of my first clients ever. I can't remember all the things she had wrong. She had high blood pressure, she had pain, she had all sorts of things going on. And she had rosacea. And so I took the high blood pressure, and the pain, and all of those things, and I worked on those. And at the third, she was due for a third appointment, she phoned, a fourth appointment it would've been. Because after the third appointment she phoned and said, "You haven't helped me at all." I said, "What do you mean? I've got your blood pressure down. You're no longer in pain. This is solved, that’s solved, the other thing solved. What do you mean?" And she goes, "Well, you haven't sorted out my rosacea." 

Andrew: Ahh, right. 

Geraldine: And so you have to know where they're coming from. You have to know what their number one is. Because if I'd realised that her rosacea was her number one problem, I would have said to her, "You know what? That is the last thing that's going to resolve. And we're looking at six months, if I can do it." 

You know, we have to get all these things under control, and then we can start working on that, because we have to work on your gut health and your skin health, and both of those are long-term objectives. So I say to people, "You have to come and see me three times. And if by the third appointment we haven't had some resolution in some of your issues, then I'll refer you to somebody else."

Andrew: Was it that experience in the ward which sort of drew you to now do education as a main focus of your naturopathy?

Geraldine: Well, yes in some of the things. In that, in the U.K. once you'd qualified, you had to do teaching in a practice setting. So it's an English nursing board training certificate. So I think there's, you know, training certificates here that you do for working in a practice setting and teaching. 

Andrew: Right. 

Geraldine: And so we had to do that. So you automatically start teaching. In the restaurants, I'd always taught people, you know, you have to show the next person how to do something before you quit. 

So I'd always, always, always done a lot of teaching, and showing, and educating. And of course, there is no...the nurses here, and doctors here, physios, everybody here, when they qualify, they go out and they get a year of extra training. 

Andrew: Probation or, yeah…

Geraldine: Yeah. Probation. 

Andrew: Internship.

Geraldine: A graduate program, internship. They get that support. And so of course when I qualified here as a naturopath, for me, after my nursing, it was relatively normal just to be thrown out the door, waved off, and told, "You can do it, girl. You're all up. Go for it." 

But then going on to the wards here and going, "Wow. These guys have got all the support, I have to support this person." You know, they had allocated mentors, they had time out to go and talk to them. They did all sorts of things. I was just like, "Wow. This is incredible."

So I've always mentored. People have asked me stuff and I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, I can help." And we’d go through things. And then about five, I think it was four, five years ago, I was on holiday in Port Douglas, and I was lying on a sofa, on a girlfriend's sofa in her rental. It was absolutely gorgeous, unlike our rental. And she had a book there by a mentor. Tara Mohr, an American, a New Yorker. 

And I started reading this book and it said, and of course all I'm thinking of is what course will I do next? How can I make my practice better by doing another course, by learning something else, by doing something different? And she said, "Women just keep on learning, whereas they should actually be out doing." And I thought, "Oh, that's a really good point." 

Andrew: Oh, that's good.

Geraldine: It's such a good point, you know, here we are. And she said, "You know, women will have a Masters and doing the same as the bloke who's not even finished his degree yet." 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: You know, and things like that. Because the bloke will go, "Yeah. I can just do the job. I've got the qualification, off I go and do the job." She’ll go, “Oh, I'm not sure. Am I qualified enough. Do I know enough? Better go learn something else." And that's what I kept perpetually doing.

And so there I was, lying on the sofa, reading this book. And then I put that down and I picked up Facebook, as you do, and on there Endeavor had, there was a job. You know, "Hey, we need people in Adelaide, lecturing." So I thought, "Look, she just said stop trying to over-qualify yourself. Apply." I applied. Loved it. 

Of course immediately started going into the mentoring role. You know, the new graduates said, "Geraldine, help me with this. I'm going out to practice. What shall I do?" And so there was a lot of that. So I've got a number of people on my books over the years that I help out. And I was doing with them the same way I'd done it with my lecturer, who I will give a shoutout to, Ken King here in Adelaide. 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: And I would drive down to him, an hour, with all my case notes. I go through my clients and I drive back for an hour.

Andrew: Wow.

Geraldine: Yeah. And it was just… And that was, you know, here's me, so doing that with my students, he's saying, "Well I'll meet you somewhere we'll go through the case notes, or come to me, come to my office, we'll go through the case notes." 

And then I was away, I was on retreat, and on the retreat somebody else said to me, "Will you be my mentor?" And I thought, "I can't fit these people in. How am I going to do this?" And it was one of Tammy Guest’s retreats. 

Andrew: Oh yeah. 

Geraldine: And so this huge, you know, because you've got a mentor. As soon as you take on a mentor, your life, your world just takes on this bigger opening, this bigger perspective.

And I went, "You know what? I could turn this into a group. This is the graduate program. This is like nursing." 

Andrew: Right. 

Geraldine: These people get this education for a year after they qualify, we get nothing. What if I was to try to create that for some of these people? These people that really want to succeed, these people who are constantly going out and buying, you know, another course. Whereas it isn't another course, they just need to be mentored through what they're doing. They just need that clinician who's there to help them with their cases. So they feel confident with their cases. 

And so it's just been this culmination of all of these, you know, these steps. And you end up tumbling down those steps and collecting everything along the way, and going, "Wow. Look at the tumbleweed I've got here. It's a whole course." 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: It's everything. It just naturally flowed in and sorted itself out into the graduate program.

Andrew: But then of course you've only got so much reach with you. So, what happened?

Geraldine: Yes. So, it all went online. Okay. Do you remember carbon paper? Do you know carbon paper?

Andrew: Yes. And I remember microfiche as well.

Geraldine: Oh, yeah. The microfiche, they were great weren’t they? Telex. Have you ever done the telex? I sent telegrams when I was traveling home, I sent telegrams. 

Yeah. So, anyhow, so, my office, when I see clients, I use, I write, I hand write. 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: And they get one copy and I have the other. 

Andrew: Duplicate: 

Geraldine: I duplicate it. So I've got paper files. And so then, here's me. "Right. I'm going to do a big group of people. How am I going to do that?" Wow. Into the world of technology. 

So there has been a little bit of learning going on on my side, just to say the least. Someone said, "You know, you just use Zoom. Oh, you put it all on Teachable." Oh my god, these things that people just know. I'm like, "Okay. I can do that, no worries at all." And so I do everything on Zoom. So all of my graduates are from everywhere. I've got someone in Tasmania, I've got quite a few in Brisbane, I've got them in Victoria. So they're spread all over the place. And we meet 24 times a year for official lectures. So I have a subject. We have the first term is paediatrics. Second term's women's health. Third term is men's health and organ systems. And the fourth term is their choice. 

So we're about to go into fourth term because I've had my first lot of graduates are about to graduate. And so it's really cool actually because they've got to choose what they want. And then Tara Nelson, who's part of my Paediatric Online Summit, she's going to take one of the lectures. Carla Wrenn, you've just spoken to, she's going to take one of the lectures. 

Andrew: Ahh, okay. 

Geraldine: And so, you know, that's when I can get all these other people in who have these specialist areas. And then they share their knowledge as well. So they're not just getting me, they're getting lots and lots of other people and other knowledge. But they get me officially 24 times, for 24 official lectures. And then we meet pretty much every week, and we talk about their clients.

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: And we go through who they're seeing, what their problems are, and we do that live on Facebook. I've done two lives this week already, with my students, in our closed group, going through their clients. It means everybody else watches that.

And so everybody else up-skills on each of those things too. Because then we're all sitting around googling it, don't worry, or I'm getting a specialist in, or I'm saying, "Well, let's break this down." 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: Because that's always a problem. People overthink everything, they don't break it down. It's like, break this down and let's see where did this start? Let's timeline this. Let's have a look. Why did it happen? How is it happening? How are we continuing it to happen? What are we missing? 

And it's always what are we missing, there's always something there. What are we missing? Oh look, you know, I had a client when I was training, another doozy of a story. She didn’t seem to be getting better, and I said, "You know, you have a salad every week. You told me you have a salad every week." And she said, "Yeah." And I said, you know, I said…

Andrew: What's in the salad?

Geraldine: I thought, "Yeah. No. Salad was a lettuce, tomato, pickle." And I said, "Well, have you tried olive oil, apple cider vinegar. What are you putting on the salad?" She said, "Well, it doesn't really go in the burger."

Andrew: Oh no.

Geraldine: So it’s asking questions and breaking it down. And that's the thing. So I've got these stories that my graduates don't feel that, there is no question that's too small, you know. 

Andrew: Yeah, that’s right. 

Geraldine: Because I've done these things. You know, I've sat there going, "Why aren't you getting any better? You seem to still be twitching and everything else. You say you're only having one coffee a day.” Yes, one coffee a day. “So how much coffee is in the cup?" 

Andrew: How big is that coffee?

Geraldine: Oh, yeah. "How big is that coffee?" "Oh no. It's a Turkish coffee and a one litre pot." You know what I mean? And it's just like I've made those mistakes, and so I'm able to go through and reach with my graduates and say, "What is it we're missing? Where is it we're missing?" And find those things. 

And it just means you got another brain. You've got a second brain around that can break things down with you that's done it mostly before. Not everything, obviously, but I've done a lot of it.

Andrew: When you say you break up the year into various subjects. Like, we're talking about naturopaths in practice, and let's say you do the first term, as you mentioned, paediatrics. When you're nursing, or when you're in medicine, or physio, or something like that, you get access to the primary healthcare system. 

Geraldine: Yep. 

Andrew: And once you're concentrating on a system, a disease, whatever, a population, you get to work with that disease area population. 

Geraldine: Yep. 

Andrew: Not so with clinic. How do you then get the expertise to retain what you learned and integrate it into your practice? How do these clinicians, you know, make it them?

Geraldine: Well, we use case studies. So they're my case studies. So if I haven't got a case study for the topic, or I think my case study is too boring, or too complex, or too long, then I will get in another clinician to do the case study. Because it's the practical application. 

Andrew: Yep, absolutely. 

Geraldine: I want to be able to assimilate all that research into practice, you know, and teach them what to do in a situation. So that means they have to have those resources that they can go back to anytime. But it's almost like they've been through the case, so they're breaking down that case. They've broken down a case for that particular problem. 

It means also I'm not in love with any one product, so it's, you know, yes, I have about 10 favorite companies, and I use their products repeatedly. But, I mean, that can actually make it difficult. In that I’ll want zinc from one company, iron from another company, this magnesium from a different company.

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: Probiotic from a different company.

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: So you got to have a good distributor obviously. But it also means that my graduates then get everything across the board. Because I'm saying, "Well, if we do a weed and seed, these are all the companies that make weeders. We're doing a seed, this is all the companies that make seeders. These are, you know, that I know of, all the available prebiotics. And then somebody will go, "Oh, no, no. Someone has got…. 

Andrew: That’s right. 

Geraldine: You know, "Oh, wow." I add that to the list, you know, because that's just come online.

Because they're graduates, they're not students, so they have a base knowledge. So they’re giving to the program too. So they're putting in as well as me because it's all of us. 

So when we do these case studies, and we do these breakdowns, they all have so much to give, and they're not just naturopaths, there's nutritionists as well. So it's naturopaths and nutritionists are in the groups. And I'll separate them out when we do the breakdown. 

So the nutritionists will go together, and the naturopaths will go together because the naturopaths obviously will come up with herbs, and the nutritionists will come up with nutritionals and foods. So it's across the board, the whole group. And they're all learning so much from each other, as well as from me. Sometimes I feel like a facilitator, and it's great...

Andrew: Well, you know what, you know what? This comes up time and time again. You know, when does the master become the student, and also, the power of collaboration.

Geraldine: You know, and it's the changing of the guard. I've been doing this a long time, and my husband is now, he's going, "Oh I’m going to retire?" As soon as our daughter is in Year 10, she's about to go into Year 10 next year, and then, so he's going, "Well, I'm retiring in five years, you know, are you coming with me?" He's bought the big car to go travel around Australia, and it's like, "Are you coming with me or are you staying you seeing the clients?" And I'm like, "Wow. I'm going to have to share this information. I'm going to have to, you know, not only...yes, I want to keep learning. Of course I do. But how can I share all this knowledge that I've got?"

Because there seems to be a wonderful change going on in naturopathy overall, and nutrition, and out there in our world of, there's a new guard out there. There's new people. There's new ideas. We're sharing it in different ways. And there's lots of people coming through the same system now. Whereas we all came through different colleges, different systems before. Now, there's only two options, I think, degree-wise. 

And so we need this information from the old guard who came through different systems.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Geraldine: Who've learnt in different ways, and who've got this knowledge. So it's not just about, you know, reading the research. Yes, we love the research. Of course we do. But sometimes research just helps with my insomnia.

Andrew: But that's when it's book on face, isn't it? You're lying in bed and the book slaps you in the face as you fall asleep.

Geraldine: Yeah. Except of course that's now your device, because everything's online, so it's the device that slaps you in the face. 

But it's assimilating all that into practice, and it's supporting these new graduates to do it. And so everything I do is now, I mean, if I work out how often I see them to how much I charge them. I think I worked it out and it came in at like, sort of they see me for like 5 bucks a time these days. Now that we're getting towards the end of the year. But I love it. 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Geraldine: I had a message this morning at the hairdresser saying, "I've got a case. Can we go through it before I see her on Friday?" "Yeah. Okay. We can do that tomorrow afternoon, we're not doing it today, but yeah, yeah. We can do that tomorrow afternoon. I finish lecturing and then I've got a couple of clients, and then I'll see you after that."

Andrew: I'm seeing this real responsibility for the profession coming through. And it reminds me of the expectations that like, specialists have, for instance. It's not a rule, but it's an expectation, that they go to poorer nations, for instance, and help out with the medical programs there. 

Geraldine: Yeah. 

Andrew: And it's like, as you say, a changing of the guard. They teach operations and techniques and care to the caregivers in that country or in that community, and then that's passed on and shared. But you have other offerings as well, it's not just a program. 

Geraldine: I do. 

Andrew: You don't have a life, basically.

Geraldine: Because. I can't help myself, really. It's, yeah… 

Andrew: Tell us about those.

Geraldine: So, at the beginning of the year, I did an NHAA thing here in Adelaide, and realised that everybody was saying to me, "When are you bringing that to my town? When are you bringing that to my town?" I'm like, "Well, I'm not. I'm in Adelaide." 

And then people have been saying to me, "Geraldine, peediatrics, you have to share, you have to share." And I'm like, "Well, I'm not traveling all over Australia until I'm gray brigade, you know? And then, yeah, and then you might see me. But I'm not getting on airplanes and off airplanes all the time. How am I going do this?" 

And so the Paediatric Online Summit has been born. So on the 11th of November… and then of course I think to myself, "Oh, it'll be all weekend, and it will be lovely, and they can all do it from their own homes." And then I think, "Oh, why does it have to be all weekend?" You know, they're not traveling for this. They'll be in their own homes. They'll be in the kitchens, they'll be on their devices. They can be doing stuff and listening and watching, they just need time to go for a wee. So there's three 15-minute wee breaks all day.

Andrew: Right.  

Geraldine: And the rest of it is solid paediatric education, and it's not just me. I'm just in the morning. And then afternoon, I've got an amazing selection of speakers. So I've got Moira Bradfield, who you've interviewed before.

Andrew: I know Moira.

Geraldine: Yeah. She's going to talk about the vaginal microbiome in childhood. 

Andrew: Yep. 

Geraldine: There's Tara Nelson, who you don't know, but you will know. She's a mentor over in WA and she looks at thyroid. And so she's presenting the hypothyroid child. 

Amanda Mullemeister, I believe you are going to meet very soon, because she works with eczema. And so she's presenting. And then I've got Nicole Topp, which I think you might also be meeting very soon. 

Andrew: Right. 

Geraldine: Anxiety. And then I've got another local, I've got Robin Miller. Who's talking about just called, eating behaviours in the disabled child. 

And Grace Milano, who's talking about pregnancy, worries, concerns, and more. So the afternoon is literally choker. And it's all live*.

So I've asked them all to record their pieces, and then they will be live answering questions as they're talking. So the recording is going up, but they're actually there live so they can answer questions. And if they're long questions, there's a Q&A at the end of the day.

So I've just decided it's too scary, the thought of the internet bubbling up from wherever they are in Australia, and not behaving, and then people going, "Hang on. I've delegated this whole day for this and internet is not working." 

Andrew: Yep.  

Geraldine: And to top it, there's this thing called internet in New Zealand. They have fibre there, they've had it for about 20 years. And so I've decided I'm going to go to New Zealand and deliver it from New Zealand. 

Andrew: Right. 

Geraldine: Even though it's going to be in a Melbourne time zone, because I figure more people know that one than the Adelaide time zone. We have this precious half an hour that no one else has.

Andrew: You're holding this on one day. What if, as you said, somebody's internet goes down but their questions are going to be live. The lectures are pre-recorded?

Geraldine: Yeah. Everything's pre-recorded and everything is saved as well, so they're going to get access to it for six months.

Andrew: Right. So no matter what happens on the day, you'll always get the lectures. But if the world turns the wrong way, at the very worst you might miss out on the live question time?

Geraldine: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. Gotcha.

Geraldine: Yeah. And they're all there, and you can type them up. And each of these speakers are all like, "Oh, yeah, they can contact me afterwards." The thing is, everyone I've asked, I just said, "Would you mind?" "But, you know, I'm not good enough." I'm like, "Yeah you are, you're amazing. I've seen what you've done. I've seen how many people you've helped. You're incredible." "Oh, no. I'm too scared to do it." "No, you're not. You're phenomenal. Record it first, so there's no glitches on the day. You'll be fine." 

And so they've all said, "Ah, yeah, if there's a problem, you know, they can just contact. If they've got a question, they can just email me. Can they do that afterwards, Geraldine?" I'm like, "Of course they can." So it's just people who are successful in practice. They're people who are in practice, doing the job. They're successful, they know what they're doing, and they're the people I've asked to talk. And they all said yes. And it's going to be amazing. It's going to be full on, a whole day.

Andrew: But it's also a big, it's a big topic. Like paediatrics is not a light topic, nor is it a very constrained topic. Like paediatrics is basically anything from neonates to under 16. So what's the focus?

Geraldine: So I've just gone for the younger child on this one. So, you know, Grace is talking about pregnancy, worries and concerns. So, you know, we've got that little bit at the beginning there where there's going to be a little bit on the baby, but it's really the young child this time round. 

I figure we're going to do this most years, we'll do it again next year. And we'll just make that child a little bit older next year, and then a little bit older the following year, and then we'll come back to the beginning again. Because there is so much to cover. There is so much to cover. And that's why it's ended up as 10 hours. 

So then I thought, "Well, if I do this paediatric summit, I could set up a scholarship fund for anyone who's qualified, at any point, post-qualification, there's no specifics. And for them to do continuing education." 

Andrew: That’s awesome!

Geraldine: So that's what I've done with the Paediatric Online Summit. So obviously this is the first time, you know, I've had an online summit, and it's the first time that the money will be going into the scholarship fund. So it's not very big yet, but yeah, afterwards, anyone can apply. And if I keep doing it every year, hopefully, the scholarship fund, because 10% of profits will go in, the scholarship fund will get more and more and more, and I'll be able to support more and more and more people with their continuing education.

Andrew: I think the big one is, they've got to get the expertise off people who have already done that, to be able to be proficient in their profession. To be able to then practice with their patients in a responsible manner, to therefore develop their clinic, to therefore make a successful clinic, to therefore finance things. And this is the roundabout. This is the whole thing about, it all starts, as you have poignantly explained, with sharing. And it's sharing your expertise.

Geraldine: We've got to share. And admittedly, yes, I'm sharing with obviously a selected few, because they're the ones who are paying to come to these things, and paying to go on to my course. 

But they're also the ones who want that support, and who realise that being part of the tribe. Because it is, it's about having people that are there to support you as a whole group. You know, it's not just me, it's everyone within my group. And they're all amazing. And getting them to understand that they are amazing, and that they have so much to give is part of what I do. Because they have, they've got so much to give, and they're an incredible group of people.

Andrew: Well, I'm going to gain say you there. You are actually quite special and different.

Geraldine: I know I’m different.

Andrew: I didn't mean it like that. But I do. I really thank you for what you've done and what you're doing in the future. It's much needed and you're doing it in a way which really fosters this, you know, sharing and caring approach. But it also helps naturopaths to upskill in a responsible manner. Well done.

Geraldine: Well, thank you for getting behind this as well. And thank you for helping me out. It's just wonderful that I can share in this way, and be on FX Med and share. And say to people, "Hey, we can do this. We are profession. We are really good at what we do. And when we're not, we refer."

Andrew: Yeah. That's right. Geraldine Headley, thank you so much for joining us on FX Medicine today.

Geraldine: Thank you, Andrew. It's been wonderful.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.

Additional Resources

Geraldine Headley
Healing the Children
Paediatric Online Summit
Author: Tara Mohr
Tammy Guest
Naturopath: Tara Nelson


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