Team Blog > Chris Burke
Admin Support PBHO
I embarked on my nurse training way back in 1982 at “The School of Nursing”, well before the nursing qualification became a university degree course. However, I remember my general training being filled with hard work, lots of studying, difficult assessments, unsociable shifts and considerable responsibility even though it wasn’t a degree! I was so proud to become a registered nurse and so relieved to meet my husband and start a family! We now have two lovely, grown up boys.
As my career progressed, I became a more experienced nurse (and mum), undertaking additional university modules to keep up to date working as a District Nurse, Community Matron and finally a Practice Nurse.
Throughout my NHS years I learnt very little about lifestyle medicine. The NHS dietary advice at the time was in the form of patient leaflets promoting the ‘healthy eating plate’. I would also discuss blood results to manage long term conditions, usually via medication. However, most nursing time as well as the patients’ efforts were spent managing the symptoms of their long term conditions, rather than the cause.
When I retired from nursing I vowed to take better care of myself. I have always been a healthy weight and because of that I thought I was healthy. However, when we were being trained on a new piece of equipment at our surgery that checked your cholesterol with a finger prick my result was very high, which was a surprise and quite a wake up call!
One day our youngest son sent us a link to “The Game Changers” film. We finally got around to watching it and were completely captivated by the information and results. We sought out more films, documentaries and books on the subject and started eating a whole foods plant based diet. We both agreed – this was something we just had to try!
Within 6 weeks my husband was able to stop his regular medications for reflux and vocal chord disorder. His voice had been hoarse for well over a decade, he would cough throughout the day and experience pain after eating. It was wonderful to hear his clear voice again. I also saw my cholesterol improve. We both had more energy to enable us to enjoy more outdoor pursuits.
Shortly after starting our whole foods plant based diet I came across the launch of Plant Based Health Online. I was so inspired by our own positive changes and excited that there was a group of clinicians coming together to help people achieve better health through diet and lifestyle choices that I emailed them and asked if I could be of any help. Luckily for me, after a few discussions with Laura, they asked if I could help with admin. I was absolutely delighted!
Although I am not a clinician with PBHO I do have a good understanding about health and wellbeing from both my work and personal life experiences, which helps me enormously with the admin role. I feel very fortunate to be a part of PBHO. All contacts and patients are treated with the utmost compassion, understanding and expertise. I get to see this first hand as after having received training I now facilitate our Virtual Group Consultations. It’s wonderful for me to see and speak with our patients and help the group sessions go smoothly. It’s also amazing to see the depth of knowledge that our clinicians have regarding lifestyle advice. I am so very proud to be a part of PBHO.
I still have a very busy life but prioritise family, friends, exercise and food choices. Life is a journey and having a supportive husband alongside makes it so much easier and enjoyable. We feel confident that we are doing what we can to stay healthy and active. My hobbies now include gardening, Pilates, walking and running. I’m not particularly athletic but running gets me out of puff and feel very pleased with myself afterwards so I’ll keep it up, after all I will need to run to keep up with my grandchildren!