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A sea change brings about rewarding career as an Osteopath

8th October 2019

Andrew MacMillan admits that when he was at school, he was more interested in sport than studying. He left school and joined the Royal Navy as an apprentice weapons engineer. After 4 years in the Royal Navy Andrew started thinking about life beyond the forces.

Andrew knew that a traditional desk job wasn’t for him. He initially looked for a career that would involve his love of sport – this led him to becoming a personal trainer. He then trained as a Level 3 Massage Therapist. Helping clients who were coming to him after suffering an injury reignited his interest in osteopathy. Andrew had experienced the benefits of osteopathy first hand when he was a teenager suffering from back pain.

To practice as an Osteopath in the UK Andrew needed to complete a degree in osteopathy. Going back to education wasn’t an easy decision for Andrew.

Andrew says, “ Initially I thought you’d need to have at least an A-level in science to study for a degree in Osteopathy. However the London School of Osteopathy, where I chose to study also took into consideration the skills I obtained during my time in the Navy, and the courses I’d taken as a PT and Massage Therapist. Starting university as a mature student was daunting at first. However the academic team and tutors at the London School of Osteopathy (LSO) where I chose to do my degree had lots of experience in supporting students who aren’t following the traditional path of A-levels followed by degree. The discipline I’d learnt during my time in the Royal Navy definitely helped when it came to studying.”

Since qualifying as an osteopath Andrew hasn’t looked back. He now runs his own osteopathic clinic. As he is self-employed he has the luxury of picking his own hours. When working in the clinic his day consists of examining and treating patients with a range of muscle or joint pains. He offers hands-on treatments as well as advice. Andrew says, “Compared to a GP I get to spend much more time with my patient as opposed to spending time writing notes and letters.”

One of the aspects about a career as an osteopath that appealed to Andrew was that the fact that post qualification you can choose to specialise in a particular area. Andrew says, “I’m particularly interested in sports rehab. I’m passionate about helping people keep active. Whether it’s helping professional sports people or simply helping someone to continue taking part in the sport they enjoy as a hobby.”

His time at the LSO didn’t put him off studying. He has since gone on to complete a Post Graduate certificate in medical education. Andrew enjoyed his time so much at the LSO and appreciated the difference his tutors made to his studies that he now returns as a lecturer. Andrew says, “I love teaching and helping students develop and reach their potential. Teaching is a very rewarding experience and it keeps me at the top of my game.”

What would Andrew say to anyone who is considering a career as an osteopath? “Becoming an osteopath is more about people and personal characteristics than it is about academic qualifications, although you need to study hard to be an osteopath. Everyone is capable of achieving it with the correct guidance and motivation.” He goes on to say, “The job is incredibly rewarding – everyday I see how the role positively impacts people’s lives.”

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