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Cultivating joy for the next generation of Chinese medicine practitioners

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 6 February 2023

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One of the things Glen Furze loves most about teaching is being able to mentor and nurture his students. He’s had a positive impact on hundreds of students during his 22 years with Endeavour, but he hasn’t always been in the natural health space. He’s an engineer by trade and only began his career in natural medicine after a debilitating accident left him hospitalised.

Glen didn’t grow up in a family that practiced or subscribed to natural medicine. However, he played in a band in the late 70s and said he was surrounded by friends who were naturopaths. He also played – and still plays – field hockey, and said an injury on the field resulted in his first acupuncture treatment.

“Back then, acupuncture was seen as being some form of ‘exotic’ treatment,” Glen said. “But several of my naturopath friends offered acupuncture, and I had a phenomenal response with my first treatment. I was so impressed at how well it worked to help manage the pain from my hockey injury.”

About five years later, Glen was in a serious car accident and spent time in hospital. He recalled the exact conversation that changed the trajectory of his career forever. “I was chatting with my surgeon, and she said that if she could do life over again, she’d study acupuncture and help bring it into the hospital setting,” said Glen. “It was like a spiritual revelation! I decided then and there that’s what I wanted to do with my life – I wanted to practice acupuncture.”

For the next four years, Glen continued working as an engineer while studying acupuncture at night. After graduating, he took the opportunity to travel to Bali where he practiced acupuncture for two years before moving to Amsterdam, where he practiced for another two years. “I was no longer Glen the engineer; I was now Glen the acupuncturist. I took my needles with me everywhere and really enjoyed being able to travel, move around and still make money doing what I loved to do,” he said.

In 1995, Glen accepted a role at Endeavour College’s Melbourne Campus. “After all these years, I still find so much joy in teaching. I am constantly being exposed to new information that I’m able to share with my students,” Glen said. “Education has revolutionised over the years, and it’s not uncommon for people to struggle with all the new technologies and sheer volume of information. But if you can dance with that change rather than expect it to go back to the way it once was, you find joy in the process,” Glen said.

Glen said it’s not uncommon for students to feel worried, anxious or nervous that they don’t know enough or aren’t ready to graduate and practice in the real world. He takes the approach of helping to guide them through their time at Endeavour without getting caught up in the angst. “Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. I try to remind students that we can’t expect to learn it all in one lifetime. In fact, in twenty years’ time, I hope they are completely comfortable with how much they don’t know. It’s not a race to know everything; it’s a marathon – a journey – and it’s important that they factor in happiness and learn to enjoy themselves along the way.”

In addition to teaching therapeutic clinical subjects at Endeavour and seeing clients at his home-based private practice, Glen is also heavily involved with community and homeless clinics in the Melbourne area that offer natural health support to community members struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol issues. “I encourage student practitioners to volunteer in their community so they can experience first-hand what these real-life situations entail and the emotional side of things that come along with cases like these.”

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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.

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