• 10 September 2021
  • 7 min read

My Career Journey From Care Assistant, To Physio, To Running My Own Business

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
  • 0
  • 278
“It was during our time in Morocco that the first wave of the Coronavirus hit, the borders were closed, and we ended up spending 6 months stuck there!”

India discusses her life, career and why she decided to move from working in Physiotherapy, to starting her own business.

Topics covered in this article

Where It All Began

Lessons From My First Job

Choosing Physiotherapy

Working As A Physio In The NHS

Back In England

Having Children And How That Changed My Career Path

We Move Into A TRUCK!

My Dream Business Was Born

Where It All Began

I realise that my desire to care for people began a very long time ago.

Some of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories are of witnessing a dear aunt going through treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I was only 3 years old at the time and I remember seeing her suffering after her chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, in pain, nauseated, losing her hair and becoming increasingly frail.

I remember visiting her regularly, taking her my soft toys for her to snuggle with and cuddling up with her in bed.

Above all, I remember my desperate desire to want to make her feel better, to ease her suffering.

Thankfully my aunty responded very well to her treatments and now has three, healthy and happy, grown-up children.

It was that feeling of wanting to alleviate her suffering, and to be by her side that I have carried with me through the years and it has given me my calling in life, to be of service, and to care for people.

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Lessons From My First Job

My dad was a single-parent and money was tight, so when I reached 17 years of age, he asked that I contribute towards my keep at home.

I went to the job centre and there were lots of jobs available.

Most jobs were in hospitality and retail but the ones that caught my eye were the ones in Care Work.

When I spotted a post available at a residential home that my mum had worked in years ago, I knew it was for me.

I had an interview and started the next day!

That first job as a Healthcare Assistant taught me a lot.

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I learnt to love spending time in the company of the elderly, hearing their stories and hearing their advice about how to lead a good life.

I learnt to assist with personal care (toileting, washing and dressing) despite finding this intensely uncomfortable at first.

It learnt to work hard and developed a strong work ethic.

Even though I enjoyed this role I felt held back somehow, I was always inspired by visits from GP’s/ Physios and Nurses who came to visit the residents and could see that I would enjoy work as a Healthcare Professional.

Choosing Physiotherapy

As a teenager I had always been interested in complementary therapies such a Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Acupuncture and I was very keen to study these at degree level.

My father advised me to initially get a job in the NHS to get a grounding in western medicine, Anatomy and Physiology etc before going on to study and practice Complementary or Alternative medicine.

I understood this rationale and could see that this route would support me to have a more balanced view of healthcare and would stand me in good stead for other healthcare roles.

I chose Physiotherapy as I liked the variety of different specialities one could work in and the fact that it lent itself well to private practice.

I studied at Oxford Brookes University and after 3 years of intense study and clinical placements I graduated with a first-class degree with Honours.

Working As A Physio In The NHS

I returned to home to Devon and got my first junior rotational post in the local healthcare trust.

I moved through many specialities during that first two and a half years.

I worked in musculoskeletal out-patients, care of the elderly in-patients, neurology rehab, respiratory wards, oncology wards, orthopaedics and many more.

I realised that I was gravitating towards people with long-term conditions such a cancer and neurodegenerative diseases and I also found I was enjoying my work with palliative patients.

Outside of work, I continued to practice Yoga and started to see how Yoga could be so beneficial to so many of the patients I was treating in the hospital.

Yoga is often misunderstood, it is often seen as a ‘work-out for young, flexible people but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yoga is a very adaptable practice and can be used to help recondition and balance the body no matter what physical condition the body is in.

Yoga is a holistic practice and is helpful in supporting peoples emotional and mental well-being.

This passion for Yoga led me to taking a sabbatical to India where I studied to be a yoga teacher and I also started to study death and dying from an Indian (mostly Hindu and Buddhist) cultural perspective.

Back In England

I returned from India with a desire to work in a hospice as a Physio, I was so determined that I continually pestered a local hospice until they created a post for me!

This didn’t happen over-night, it took many months, and during this time I worked on the oncology and respiratory wards at the hospital where I had worked previously.

Working at the hospice was an amazing experience, it was set in a beautiful manor house surrounded by huge, manicured gardens and meadows.

A very healing environment.

During my time at the hospice, I trained to be a Western Medical Acupuncturist and found this was a very useful modality for symptom control in palliative care.

I also went on to study for a Certificate in Palliative Care at Cardiff University.

Having Children And How That Changed My Career Path

After 5 years at the hospice, I fell pregnant with my first child.

I had longed to be a mother for many years and had needed to have fertility treatment.

For that reason, I chose not return to work but to spend the early years with my son at home rather than sending him to childcare.

I had my daughter two and a half years later.

As a full-time mother, although my days were super-busy, my passion for Yoga and caring continued and so I found ways to keep that fire burning.

I studied online in the evenings for a Yoga for Cancer qualification and I also trained to be a Cancer Exercise Specialist.

We Move Into A TRUCK!

When my daughter was only 6 months old, we moved into a huge, 8 tonne motorhome.

We had always wanted to travel and explore Europe and beyond, and now with two little ones we felt the time was right.

Our first destination was Spain, then to Portugal and then across the Straights of Gibraltar to Morocco.

It was during our time in Morocco that the first wave of the Coronavirus hit, the borders were closed, and we ended up spending 6 months stuck there!

It was during this time that I witnessed so many yoga teachers and therapists moving their work online and it inspired me to think about how I could work online.

I thought up the idea of creating online rehabilitation courses for people affected by cancer and this where my business “Gentle Recovery” was born.

My Dream Business Was Born

I feel very blessed to have had this knowing throughout my life, so happy that I am now able to share all my years of experience, learning and hard work through my business Gentle Recovery.

I create online rehabilitation and wellness programmes for different cancer types as well as 1-2-1 virtual coaching.

Physiotherapy offered me a fantastic grounding in healthcare and the western medical model.

I gained so much experience, in so many different healthcare settings. With my yoga experience and qualifications, I have now found a way to combine these approaches and develop my very own business.

What adventures will your career in healthcare take you on?

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Do you have any questions for India?

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About the author

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

India Gooderham’s background is as a Specialist Physiotherapist working in oncology and palliative care in the UK. She is now working as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and Cancer Yoga teacher and is founder of ‘Gentle Recovery’, an online rehabilitation and wellness platform for people affected by cancer. Her mission is to serve, educate and empower people at any stage of their cancer journey through exercise, yoga and wellness online programmes and 1-2-1 online coaching.

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  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

About the author

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

India Gooderham’s background is as a Specialist Physiotherapist working in oncology and palliative care in the UK. She is now working as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and Cancer Yoga teacher and is founder of ‘Gentle Recovery’, an online rehabilitation and wellness platform for people affected by cancer. Her mission is to serve, educate and empower people at any stage of their cancer journey through exercise, yoga and wellness online programmes and 1-2-1 online coaching.

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