Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 8 August 2022
natural health heroes
Samantha (Sam) Gemmell was always the kid with hummus and carrot sticks at friends’ birthday parties, but something far more serious prompted her to study nutrition.
“During my teens, I had multiple health concerns – it started with glandular fever, then Hashimoto’s disease and chronic fatigue,” Sam explained. “One day, I went to get a medical certificate for work because I thought I had the flu. Looking at me, the doctor said, ‘I can see your thyroid gland from here. Let’s get that checked.’ Two weeks later, I was having surgery for thyroid cancer, aged 19.”
After Sam was declared cancer-free, she continued to feel unwell. Doctors dismissed her concerns, so Sam did her research and attended an Endeavour Open Day. “I loved it and signed up on the day. Nutrition became my passion because I believe food is the most accessible way we can improve our health.”
“I had a clear vision throughout my degree: I wanted to be the best naturopath for people with thyroid cancer. Then, during my degree, I was diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disease (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome), and my focus shifted to helping people manage chronic pain.”
As it turned out, Sam did neither. After she graduated, she went into clinical practice but soon experienced burnout. “I’m open about the fact that I failed as a one-to-one practitioner. It required energy that I didn’t have to give,” Sam said. “I love helping people, so it was hard to accept at first. But accidentally, I found a different way to use my skills. I started to write blogs and social media content for other people, particularly health practitioners and supplement companies.”
Gradually, Sam built up her writing portfolio and branched out to help her clients with marketing and other communication services. While most of her clients are in Australia, she has worked with clients from as far afield as the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom.
“I got a lot of requests for assistance from practitioners, and I realised that I couldn’t help everyone with everything,” Sam said. “So, I started to train other health practitioners and students to be virtual assistants. This side of my business is expanding, and I have my own virtual assistants helping run the business. I’m also creating a health virtual assistant directory so that practitioners can hire people with health qualifications and experience.”
“I think it’s important for students to know they don’t have to know what they’re going to be on the other side of their studies. You have many options with a natural health degree. I never imagined that I’d be using my skills to be a virtual assistant and coach, but I love it! I use my knowledge, and I get so much joy from amplifying the amazing work of other practitioners!”
Now and then, Sam still opens her books for nutrition clients. “My Mum was a scleroderma nurse for 12 years, and I’ve been supporting this community since my student clinic days. I’ve done talks about nutrition at St Vincent’s Hospital and for rural support groups because few practitioners understand this disease, and nutrition can make a difference.”
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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.