Working alongside the NHS – I wasn’t expecting that…

Taken from an article written for LinkedIn Pulse with permission to share from Jennifer Young


My first major involvement with the NHS was when my middle daughter was in utero. My first daughter was delivered by section and I wanted a home birth next time around. I did the research, I knew the concerns and I went into clinic expecting the worst (maybe a call to social services?)

My worst fears were a little conservative – I got a cocky registrar who didn’t communicate well or appreciate questions. He didn’t know much but he did know his limitations. The consultant was called. What a wonderful man he was – he listened, asked, considered and, later, called me at home to ask if I would write an academic paper with him.

‘I wasn’t expecting that’

The invitation led to my starting a PhD with the aim of developing a risk based model for clinical decisions. I worked with the Obs and Gynae research department and based the model on the risks associated with second or subsequent sections. I didn’t complete the PhD (along came daughter number 3) but I did learn a lot & change the clinical practice of a few very bright doctors.

Many years after the delivery of my middle daughter, I was, in a completely unrelated incident, the new cancer centre at the same NHS hospital, invited me to work with them. This time, I was asked to create a skin care collection for use by those undergoing treatment at the centre.

I know that many practitioners and patients are immensely frustrated by their contact with the medical profession. Doctors are perceived as being closed to new ideas, research that doesn’t sit within their existing framework and, in summary, the world of complementary therapies.

All I can say is, this is not my experience. I have no medical background (although, I do, in common with many complementary practitioners, have a strong education in science). The medics I encounter are, on the whole, very open-minded. It can’t just be me? Can it?

Jennifer Young Expertise Image

My recent appearance on the Yes to Life Expert Panel at CAMEXPO this year made me wonder about why I have found integration (mostly) painless. Here are my thoughts

As a practitioner, I am not the concern of the medic. If I give information to my client to pass to or discuss with the team, the team are much more responsive as they are caring for that person
The information given has to be in their language – my work is peppered with references and I am always very happy (usually delighted) to chat with a medical team
Doctors do not intimidate me and I fully recognise that they might be a bit intimidated by me (I am not scary – am I?)
I know that we can perceive the natural, everyday language and tone of doctors to be combative. I know it is nothing personal. I am very happy to join in
I am respectful and interested and offer something new to them – everyone loves to learn
I am the first to admit if the evidence is shaky and I’m happy to accept their shaky evidence too.

I remember having a conversation with the very lovely consultant who looked after me during my third pregnancy. The conversation occurred a couple of hours before I was on that operating table for the third happy occasion. My middle pregnancy had developed into the highest risk the hospital had seen in a while (all of my daughters are very healthy – thanks for your concern) and the consultant and I knew each other as we had done some risk lectures together.

PY (CONSULTANT) – ‘I woke up worrying about you this morning, I think we should deliver today’

ME (disturbed vision, rising blood pressure and 2 toddlers in nursery, pick up time looming and a birthday cake to bake) ‘’Well, I thought I’d tell you about the disturbed vision if I bumped into you in clinic and I did, so yes, let’s deliver today’.

Jennifer Young Image

The moral of the story – not all decisions are based in science, doctors are people too and they have intuition and feelings & the better doctors will act on it (or not). They do, however, have a way of making decisions, a language and a style all of their own. If you are introduced by one of their patients as a good thing, they will listen. Talk in their language; appreciate their position and work together to find the best way forward for your shared client.

Oh, I nearly forgot, why did the team in the cancer centre ask me to create a skincare collection? Some of their patients asked them to…..

Jennifer Young, founder of has a BSc (Hons) in Biology and is an experienced Micro-biologist, is a qualified Nutritional Therapist, an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, a qualified Aromatherapist, Beauty Therapist and Product Formulator. She has two post-graduate qualifications in health related fields and Law, has been accepted by the Courts as an expert witness for occupational health cases and has been active in medical research.

Jennifer is the author of ‘Recognise Yourself’ a beauty and well-being guide for those affected by cancer, a book of ‘can do’s’ in a world that is often filled with ‘don’t do’s’.

Written by Jennifer Young. Founder of