The ACA exists to grow your profession, your professional experience and make it easier for you to practice. This is to allow you to focus on providing patient-centred care, helping Australians live healthier and happier lives. Simply put, we are here to support each and every one of our ‘everyday heroes’.
While simply being a chiropractor makes you an everyday hero, there are many who go above and beyond their call to duty, making a difference in their local community and beyond. Often going under the radar, chiropractors like Nathan, Bree and Andrew deserve to be honoured for their selfless work in growing the reach and influence of the profession.
The Flying Doctor
Access to essential services such as chiropractic care, can be quite challenging for rural and remote communities. Cairns chiropractor Dr Nathan Bridge has been flying in and out of rural communities to provide chiropractic care across the last decade.
With a deep desire to help people and serve the community through healthcare, Nathan was drawn to the chiropractic profession by the immediate impact chiropractic care had on the body. He was also impressed by the chiropractors he visited and how passionate they remained several decades into their career.
“I wanted to be part of a profession where you could be in practice for 30 years and still really love what you are doing, where your patients are excited to come to your clinic, grateful and satisfied with the care you are giving them,” Nathan reflects.
From a young age, Nathan had an interest in flying but it was his vision for servicing rural communities that finally led him to get his pilot’s license and buy his own plane.
“Everyone deserves access to chiropractic care and those areas in northern Australia shouldn’t be any exception.”
It’s easy to underestimate how large Queensland is, with some patients driving up to eight hours to receive care at one of Nathan’s rural stations.
“People who live remotely often have physical jobs and these people take a day out of their life to travel to see us, and they’re so grateful for what we do and how we support their bodies to continue to do what they need to do.”
Nathan has proudly been an ACA member since 2003, greatly valuing the discounted PI insurance with Guild, classified advertising, the support for regional chiropractors and the fact that he can call the Association anytime he needs assistance.
“The ACA provides a voice for chiropractors and I think it’s really important to be part of an Association that represents chiropractic.”
For Nathan, being an everyday hero is as simple and being involved in your community and being excellent in what you do. A big advocate for mentoring, Nathan encourages younger chiropractors to find a mentor in order to be masterful in all aspects of practice, whether diagnosis, technique or communication.
“Being masterful in everything you do helps you be an everyday hero because you get to help people as well as you can.”
The Gippsland Guardian
The ‘black summer’ of 2019-20 caused widespread devastation across Australia, with over 18 million hectares burnt and $100 billion of damage, there was sadly many lives lost. East Gippsland chiropractor Dr Bree Wadey decided to do something to help make a difference, organising a group of chiropractors to come and help support the local residents.
Born and raised in the Victorian town of Bairnsdale, Bree had only recently finished university and starting practicing in her hometown as the fires encroached. She saw friends and family posting on social media about the devastation they faced, and was inspired to do something to help.
“I posted on Facebook saying I was from the areas affected by the bushfires and that I wanted to do something, looking for help from volunteers, and then ended up getting a whole bunch of people messaging me,” Bree recalls.
With around 50 people contacting her and offering to help, Bree reached out to Hands on Health Australia who helped bring her idea to life. The ACA, along with other organisations, stepped in to provide additional support and supplies for the volunteers.
The group of volunteers stayed at Bree’s family home, camping in the yard or staying in the shed. The volunteers provided care in treatment bases in Bairnsdale, Buchan, Orbost and Swifts Creek, seeing firefighters and SES workers and locals.
“I had a lady come up to me and say ‘having you guys here has just made everyone feel so much more relaxed’. Even if we were just there for a shoulder to cry on, to talk or treat them, we were there. I was really happy to see that we could make a difference.”
Bree first experienced the support of the Association while studying chiropractic at RMIT University. Now in practice, she appreciates the personal support, along with how the ACA keeps her updated on important matters such as COVID-19.
“As a Victorian, we’ve had to deal with a lot more lockdowns throughout COVID and the ACA is where we look to, from the emails which have been really beneficial because we don’t know half the time whether we can work or not.”
For Bree, being an everyday hero is about using what you have in your hands to make a difference, rather than focusing on what you don’t have.
“You’ve just got to have the drive to want to make a change. I was only a month into my practicing career when the fires came, so if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Hero to the Homeless
Each night, over 116,000 Australians experience homelessness, whether sleeping in their car, couch surfing, temporary accommodation or even sleeping rough on the street. For over 25 years, Dr Andrew Powlesland has been providing chiropractic care to the homeless in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Andrew volunteers at the Hands on Health Australia clinic at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, affectionately known as ‘St Pat’s’. The clinic was set up to provide immediate and holistic care to disadvantaged people within Fremantle and surrounding areas.
“One thing that really resonates with me is homelessness, their despair of having to deal with finding somewhere to sleep and the fear of what could happen overnight. What comes with that is physical problems from sleeping hard,”
Andrew shares. Andrew became a chiropractor as he wanted to help people. He was impressed by the skills aspect of chiropractic and has enjoyed being able to refine his skills throughout practice.
An ACA member since 1992, Andrew admits that membership wasn’t always easy to afford but definitely worth it. Describing the ACA as a ‘steady hand’, membership has been important to Andrew from his time as a student through to running a practice.
“I tend to keep my employees for many years and when I had to reemploy a couple of years ago, I was horrified with all the things that I had to do. The HR Service was amazing, with all the stuff that was available to set up a legal contract and employ safely.”
For Andrew, volunteering your time is a simple way to be an everyday hero, whether through schools, community groups or charities. Andrew sets aside an hour and a half each month in his calendar for volunteering at the St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, highlighting the importance of making the time to volunteer.
“For any principal chiropractors who have associates, you want them to work on growing their practice but they need to grow within as well. Volunteering is a way for them to grow and understand that they’re there for the community and not just for themselves.”
Join or Renew your Membership
Following a steady increase in ACA’s membership over the last year and stronger financial viability post-CAA restructure, the ACA is pleased to offer a small but symbolic fee reduction for most membership categories, to take effect from the 2021/22 membership year. We look to continue reducing membership fees in the future as our membership grows.
Now more than ever we need a strong membership base as we continue to advocate for the profession. We ask you to reach out to your colleagues, encouraging them to support the Association that supports them.
As the peak body representing chiropractors, the ACA provides strong membership engagement and local action supported by decisive national direction and leadership. ‘Our Support, Your Confidence’ – is more than just our slogan. We thank each and every one of our 2,761 ‘everyday heroes’ for your continued support.