Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Wednesday, 12 May 2021
natural health heroes
Endeavour graduate and former employee Jennifer (Jen) Osborne loves to support the natural health industry because, as she says, it has served her well.
Her latest role as co-founder and Chief Wellbeing Officer of Bayleaf Wellness is the culmination of a career dedicated to building a well nation.
“Growing up in country Victoria, I understood the value of Integrative medicine from an early age. There, GPs used minimal pharmaceuticals and emphasised the role of diet and lifestyle in health and wellbeing. I always wanted to be a doctor,” Jen explained. “But, whilst I was accepted into medicine, life circumstances led me to stay in Ballarat and pursue nursing as a career.”
Jen nursed for many years, including at Melbourne’s largest hospitals. "After a while, I needed to find a different way to help others. Nursing is primarily about saving lives and what I came to realise is that it was more important to me to be present for a life and participate in a person’s health journey," Jen said. "My aunt was a student at Endeavour (then called the Melbourne College of Natural Medicine), and I went with her to an open night. I was so inspired, I signed up on the spot for Homoeopathy.”
With her qualification, Jen worked as a Homeopath, searching for ways to blend Western and Complementary Medicine. “I started to think about how I could contribute on a broader scale, rather than looking after one individual’s wellbeing at a time. I decided that educating other practitioners was a way to help more people be well.”
Jen returned to Endeavour, this time as a lecturer in the Bioscience Department initially and then the Naturopathic and Homeopathic Departments over time. Her role then expanded to include Course Coordination, Student Services, Accreditation and leadership of the e-learning Department, where she used her experience and skills to improve the quality of the student experience.
“It was rewarding to be part of Endeavour’s growth, helping to strengthen its footprint across the country. I also saw the results in clinical practice, where practitioners were having greater success with cases, diminishing the burden on individuals and our healthcare system.”
After working away from home for some time at multiple Endeavour campuses over the years, Jen decided it was time to return to Melbourne. She landed a dream job as an Operations Manager and Chief Operating Officer at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. Jen had found her crew combining her love of Western Medicine and Allied/Complementary Medicine but was still yearning for something different.
“Over the years, I have witnessed incredible practitioners getting burnt out. Healers who wanted to make a difference in the world but became overwhelmed with the lack of collegial support and the rigours of running their businesses in isolation, which limited the time they could spend with patients. I also saw Integrative General Practitioners with equal passion and who struggled with the same problems, which meant their patients weren’t getting the best of them either.”
With two long-term colleagues and friends, Jen decided to establish a new business. “Bayleaf Wellness is essentially team-based care – a truly collaborative care model where practitioners come together and are supported to deliver an exceptional patient experience,” Jen said.
“Using our collective career experience, we have established an innovative model that looks after both the patient and the practitioner. It is a vibrant community and a safe place for everyone to be. While many clinics claim to be ‘integrative’, very few actually are. Often they are filled with individual practitioners who claim to do it all without any cross-referral or collaboration with other specialists in other areas of expertise.”
Part of the Bayleaf approach is to employ two interns each quarter, helping young professionals to find their feet in the natural health industry. “This is our opportunity to give back. To mentor and coach the practitioners of the future,” Jen said.
“The health industry is still quite fractured, and there is still more work to do to increase collaboration and decrease outdated ideas and judgements. At Bayleaf, we welcome the opportunity to be part of this change so that we can stand together and change lives for the better.”
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.