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Community Story: Anniken Chadwick of The Cheerful Pelvis

August 14, 2023

Meet Anniken Chadwick, pelvic health physiotherapist and owner of The Cheerful Pelvis in Vancouver, Canada. Anniken and her team bring compassion, tender honesty, and humour to their work every day.

Anniken is not only a physiotherapist, but also coaches other physiotherapists that feel overwhelmed and stuck in their day-to-day practice life through her coaching program The Art of Physiotherapy.

Tell us about your journey and motivation behind opening your own pelvic health clinic.

I started my journey by following in my mum’s steps. She was a physiotherapist so that’s what I decided to go to school for. However, I quickly found myself not enjoying it, so much so that I considered leaving the profession altogether. That was until I discovered pelvic health and found out about the meaningful work that I could do in that area of my field. I really loved the idea of the unique connection I would be able to foster with clients dealing with truly delicate issues like sexual dysfunction, pre and postnatal concerns, and incontinence.

After school I worked in various clinics, setting up pelvic health services within them, but I couldn’t find the right environment or support for my clients and myself. This led me to open my own clinic with two primary goals in mind. Firstly, I wanted to create an inclusive space specifically for individuals with pelvic health concerns, catering to various demographics, including athletes and people with trauma. Secondly, I wanted to provide support for pelvic health physiotherapists, ensuring they had mentorship, emotional assistance, and a suitable environment for their specialized caseloads. The Cheeful Pelvis opened in 2019 and I’m so proud of the team and work we’ve been doing ever since.

What do you believe has been the cause of the growth of your team since you opened?

I know that recruiting physiotherapists is a major challenge for clinics, but I’ve found we have been really successful in attracting talented professionals. I believe this success can really be attributed to the demand for the specialized mentorship, leadership, and guidance that is needed in the niche field of pelvic health.

Many individuals in this field feel uncertain and stressed about their professional development. Their daily work involves working with a lot of emotionally challenging demographics. We offer a structured support system and operational procedures that ensure that we’re not only matching the right clients with the physiotherapist they need to see, but that our physiotherapists are matching with the right clients for where they are in their career. That really comes down to our focus on assisting physiotherapists on their learning journey.

Can you tell us a little bit more behind your matching process for your clients and practitioners?

Our matching process serves a dual purpose. First, it is to ensure client satisfaction. Second, as I mentioned, it’s to control the learning journey of our physiotherapists.

We prioritize triaging cases, assigning new pelvic health physiotherapists to less complex clients initially, and gradually increasing the difficulty as they gain mentorship and experience. By managing their learning curve and emotional capacity, we prevent burnout and retain the talented individuals within our clinic.

How does your clinic ensure ongoing support for your team members?

I’ve learned that staff well-being and client outcomes are interconnected. Initially, it felt like I had to choose between meeting staff needs and doing what’s best for clients. But over time I realized if I put staff first this is always going to create a better healing environment for our clients.

What other factors have contributed to your clinic’s growth?

Another reason for our growth has been the increasing demand for pelvic health in physiotherapy. It has become a trending niche, and we have a clear mission and vision for shaping the future of pelvic health. Our approach resonates with younger generations, particularly millennials, who seek to be part of a larger purpose and make a difference. We’ve really differentiated ourselves by doing things differently from our industry peers. This has attracted others that are as passionate about pelvic health, are as eager to contribute to its ongoing transformation, and are as dedicated to further enhancing our niche as us.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your clinic values?

We’ve been really intentional about our values, we’ve even posted them on our website for our clients to see. We really believe that having guiding values play a crucial role for a clinic. Our values guide all aspects of our operations, including communication, hiring, and website content.

Since pelvic health is an intimate and personal matter, it is essential for individuals to find a place that aligns with their values. If our values do not resonate with them, clients may not receive their ideal care from us, and it is better for them to seek care elsewhere. We want people to feel comfortable and find a space that fits them, even if it is not with us.

How do you ensure that your clinic environment feels safe for clients?

I really strive to create a welcoming and comforting environment in clinic. Some of the things that I’ve done is to minimize the visibility of our medical equipment and really aim for that spa-like and homely atmosphere. Our rooms are arranged to avoid triggering clients who may associate gyms or doctor’s offices with discomfort.

The clinic’s colour scheme is intentionally gender-neutral, as pelvic health is relevant to everyone. We really have been thoughtful to make our space feel inclusive and soothing for everyone that visits the clinic.

What approach have you adopted to ensure accessibility to your services for those in need?

We implemented a wealth distribution system. We allocate a few dollars from every appointment to a fund that subsidizes appointments for those in need. That way our staff still get paid the same amount for their work.

We approached it this way because money-related conversations can be triggering for both staff and clients, and pro bono arrangements often result in complications. We check on clients’ financial security as we match them to ensure they know they will be supported if needed.

Why did you choose Jane for your practice?

I initially had had a great experience using Jane at a previous clinic. It was the best system among the various ones I had tried in the past. The Jane team provided excellent customer service, and the user experience was intuitive and stress-free.

Whether I was a solo practitioner or managing a larger clinic, Jane was affordable and adaptable for my needs. Jane was able to seamlessly handle tasks like importing charts when I expanded my team too. The system’s design seemed tailored to meet the needs of physiotherapists.

Why would you recommend Jane to other physiotherapists?

As a passionate clinician and clinic owner, dealing with administrative and technical tasks is something I tend to avoid, which often leads to complications.

However, reaching out to Jane for support has been an exception. The Jane team’s stellar customer service has always been so quick and kind. I’ve never hesitated to reach out for help when I needed it, which is in stark contrast to other companies I work with, where I may procrastinate for weeks due to dread of having to deal with them. Jane’s support has really lightened my workload significantly. It’s really crucial to the work we do here in the clinic every day because the burden of burnout and getting overwhelmed is already so heavy. When faced with technical challenges, knowing that Jane and the Jane team is there to help resolve them has really had a positive impact to our day-to-day operations.


Connect with Anniken on Instagram
Connect with Anniken through her website

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