A FEW MOMENTS WITH Natalie McConochie

What is your current position?

My current position is a physiotherapist at Macquarie Women’s Health in Dubbo NSW. It is a private practise with midwives, obstetricians and gynaecologists, reception and admin staff and then myself.

What led you into women's health physio?

I had an interest in women’s health, but it really wasn’t until I had my first baby that I truly valued just how important this type of service is. Hence, I strongly pushed for a position at Dubbo Base Hospital and was finally granted this in 2010. Then on the 10th of March 2014, I joined the team at Macquarie Women’s Health.

What do you enjoy the most about it?

I thrive on the very positive impact you can have on someone’s life both physically and emotionally. The women I work with, truly inspire me.

Do you have a specific area of specialty or interest within women's health?

I don’t have an area of specific speciality, being rural it is enough that I focus on women’s health. As far as my interest is concerned, it would have to be faecal incontinence and birth trauma. On the whole though, I have to say I enjoy it all.

Describe an average 'day at the office'

Well after the chaos of trying to get my two children off to school and day care, I usually arrive half hour before I start seeing patients to have my quiet time with a cup of earl grey tea and breakfast. Yes, I can hear you all saying that’s not an ideal “strict morning bowel routine”, I’m certainly not leading by example. Lol.

My day is usually spent seeing patients with a whole variety of problems, and at times I am doing joint sessions with the O&G's to manage them. I really like the model of care that is evolving at Macquarie Womens Health. It is a multidisciplinary team approach for our patients. This year we have a 3rd O&G starting who will be introducing urodynamics to the practise so patients will no longer have to travel to sydney to receive this service and looking into the future I would like to see more allied health join the team. But I'm getting a tad off topic now...

At the end of my day in the rooms (that’s supposed to finish at 3pm, but lucky to be done by 5pm), I visit the post natal and post gynae surgery patients at Dubbo Private Hospital. I only work 3 days a week, but generally they tend to be quite long days.

Name an area of research you would like to see done in women's/men's/pelvic floor health?

I have used vaginal weights with women who have SUI during running/high impact exercise. My theory is that I need to build patient strength for that particular activity. More than strength I wonder if it is actually impacting resting tone. To date, the patients I have tried this with have all responded quite well. I would like to see research to test my theory.

I would also like to see some research within Australia’s indigenous communities. I have very few indigenous women accessing my service over the last five years, and those that do, they have such severe prolapse and/or incontinence. These women are accessing services so much later and hence presenting with other comorbidities that can impact whether or not they are a surgical candidate. In trying to improve their quality of life and “Closing the Gap” I think we need a foundation to start with and to look at just exactly what the statistics are. I have read an assumption that they are similar to the rest of the population, which may be true, but there   tend to be poorer ante and post natal care of indigineous women, and they are less likely to access medical help for any problems that do exist. I'm not convinced the stats are the same as the general population.

Finally, I would like to see research into normal bladder volumes/urge in the first couple weeks post natal.

What is one thing you would like to say to someone who is considering taking that step and making an appointment with their local women's health physiotherapist?

Do it… It can be a life changing experience.

What is an aspect of women's/men's health that gives you job satisfaction

I recently celebrated my first year in private practise. I was overwhelmed with the amount of thanks and messages of encouragement from women. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing I made a difference.

There is this incredibly infectious enthusiasm amongst womens health physiotherapists, and such a supportive community. Its one to be envied by other physio sub specialities.


Cats or Dogs? Defintely dogs!
Beach or Bush? I love to visit the beach, but I'm a country girl through and through
Coffee or Tea? Tea. I ahve never tried coffee....I don't like the smell.
Full cream or skim? Full cream
Fruit or veg? Both, even better if it is home grown.
Home cooked or Restaurant? I can't cook, so I am happy with a restaurant. Home cooked if I'm not cooking!
Camping or 5 star?  I like 5 star camping Jgive me champagne, strawberries, cheese, bickies and a sunset, and I’m a very happy camper... excuse the pun

Your name and qualifications

Natalie McConochie

B.App.Sc (Physiotherapy), University of Sydney

You can find out more about Nat and where she works at Macquarie Women's Health in Dubbo  www.macquariewomenshealth.com.au