Spotlight on a specialist: Ms Claire Small, Clinical Director at Pure Sports Medicine

Why did you choose your particular specialty?

I did some work experience in a lab and while I liked the scientific aspect, I disliked the lack of people to interact with. Medicine combined the human element with the science. I chose Physiotherapy over Medicine at Uni as I felt it was a bit more dynamic and interactive. I’d always been interested in how the body works, and while people think that physio and musculoskeletal medicine are just about joints and muscles, you need to have a good understanding of physiology to deal with people as whole beings and not just “a sore knee or bad back”.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Easy! The people. Both the patients and the amazing people I work with – clinicians and administrators. I work with an incredible team who are all passionate about doing their very best (in whatever capacity they work) to help people achieve their goals.

What one thing do you wish every member of the public knew?

That exercise is THE wonder drug and is the solution to so many of the world’s most common, costly and deadly health conditions. And – that for many conditions, the exercise required doesn’t have to take a long time.

What three traits define you?

Hard working, assertive and enthusiastic. I think this combination has served me well starting and building a healthcare business. If you aren’t passionate and enthusiastic about wanting to help people, it comes across and people don’t engage effectively (patients or staff).

Who is your inspiration?

I was fortunate enough to have an amazing lecturer by the name of Gwen Jull who taught me from my first year as an undergraduate right through to my MSc. She was an amazing teacher but also an amazing clinician who ran a successful private practice alongside lecturing and research. She inspired me to have a career where I gave back to other clinicians with my knowledge and try to act as an advocate for health education and literacy as a key component of improving health for all.

What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?

While I am very proud of what we have built at Pure Sports Medicine and the thousands of people we have helped since we started in 2003, it is my relationships with friends, family and colleagues of which I am most proud.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

Food critic. I love exploring new restaurants and trying new foods. I think chefs are incredibly clever with what they do with raw ingredients and sitting down to dinner with people is one of the most important ways of developing and maintaining relationships.

What advances in medicine are you most excited about?

We do finally seem to be developing more joined up thinking in medicine where we are not just treating one disease, one system or one problem, but looking at patients as whole people and considering how different systems interact. A focus on food as medicine is slowly starting to filter into our conversations with patients about healthcare.

Hippocrates said it back in 400 BC, (“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”) but for some reason it’s taken us this long to catch on in medicine. So I guess it’s not really an advance – just doing the basics brilliantly.

What (health) app would you most recommend?

TED talks. The information on TED is so diverse and delivered by so many experts in their individual fields. Two of my favourite are Why Things Hurt by Lorimer Moseley (which is a TEDx Talk) and How Menopause affects the brain by Lisa Mosconi. I recommend them to patients all the time.

This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. myHealthSpecialist makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information in this article, or found by following any link from this article. Please consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical advice.

Read Ms Claire Small’s latest article: Back pain 2.0: Ditching the myths for accurate, evidence-based information

Book a telephone or video consultation with Ms Claire Small