Our 2020 PhD Scholarship participant Simon Vella is a chiropractor, PhD research candidate and casual tutor in the Department of Chiropractic at Macquarie University. Simon completed his Master of Research Program through Macquarie University on lumbopelvic and lower limb biomechanics in 2020. He is currently a PhD candidate focusing on emergency and paramedic healthcare for low back pain through the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health at The University of Sydney. Working in clinical practice at Coastal Chiropractic and Sport Rehabilitation on the Central Coast of NSW, in his practice, Simon has a strong emphasis on active care, rehabilitation and education, and an interest in managing sport injuries.
“I became a chiropractor to help people and promote the active care paradigm which promotes progress, without ignoring any parts of patient care”After completing high school, Simon explored the option of both physiotherapy and chiropractic care. Following spending some time onsite at his uncle’s chiropractic clinic, Simon decided the path of chiropractic healthcare was a good fit for his future. Later studying and becoming a qualified chiropractor, Simon’s clinical career has been driven by a desire to focus on holistic patient care and promoting the active care paradigm in his Central Coast chiropractic and sport rehabilitation clinic. Simon is now working part-time in patient care at his clinic while he completes his PhD studies.
“Due to COVID, my role as a clinician pivoted to becoming an educator, that provided resources and reassurance to my patients during this unprecedented time”Due to the COVID restrictions imposed in March 2020, Simon made the difficult decision to close his Central Coast NSW practice for three months and focus on his online university teaching and Master of Research studies. With his practice based in a location with an ageing population, it was important for Simon to get clients back through the doors and provide accessibility for treatment once restrictions lifted, whilst ensuring patients remained mindful of new COVID practices. The transition after COVID measures were put in place was a challenging one, with many of Simon’s patients delaying treatment for lower back pain due to the uncertainty that COVID placed on the community. Simon’s solution for providing essential patient information post-COVID has been a regular monthly newsletter sharing COVID-safe measures from the NSW Health website and providing regular tips and practical resources for hygiene and reducing COVID risk to patients on his mailing list. In addition, Simon continues to provide education on musculoskeletal conditions, and management strategies in his newsletters. New communication methods via email and digital mediums have provided great peace of mind for patients and enhanced confidence for face-to-face chiropractic appointments.
“My advice to new chiropractors is to keep learning by exploring weekend courses, seminars, conferences, and further university education.”One of the critical pieces of advice from Simon for new chiropractors is the importance of continuous learning and ongoing education. Whether it is weekend courses, professional development, conferences, networking with GPs and other allied health professionals (i.e. physiotherapists), higher education, or seminars – Simon feels any additional form of learning is a fantastic way to broaden a clinician’s knowledge-base and improve patient care. Simon believes chiropractors should continually work to consistently optimise and improve their communications with patients as well as other professionals in allied health – understanding personal scope for each medical area and focusing on evidence-based treatments and holistic care for patients.