Meet Dr Jaimini Raniga (née Patel, Nightingale, 1977)
Dr Jaimini Raniga (née Patel, Nightingale, 1977) qualified as a medical doctor from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London University in 1982 and has been a medical practitioner of Family and Integrative Medicine for the last 30 years. She has worked in a number of different countries and is now based in Australia. We spoke to her about what work has been like during the pandemic, as well as reflecting on her time at Ashford School.
What is your current job?
- I am a Medical Practitioner registered in both the UK and in Australia. In 1982, I qualified from St Mary’s Hospital in London and then furthered my studies in several complementary health modalities. I now practise as an Integrative Medical Practitioner and run Sivanna Health in Australia.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected Sivanna Health?
- In Australia, family medicine is considered an essential service and therefore we have remained open throughout the pandemic. However, we have seen the numbers of patient attending the clinic decline, as many are fearful of visiting. Medical practices have taken numerous precautions to work to prevent spread, and the government has opened telehealth and video conferencing as a way for us to continue patient’s medical care whilst they are self-isolating. Those who require a physical examination have still been able to visit the clinic.
What has been most challenging for you over the past few months?
- In Australia we do not have a free health system like the NHS. Instead, the government subsidies the cost of most mainstream medicine treatments. My clinic primarily practices Integrative Medicine, a health approach which embraces mainstream along with complementary modalities. This type of clinic is not viewed as a primary care clinic, whereby every sick patient needing medical help is required to visit, so during the pandemic although we are considered an essential service by the government, patients themselves do not consider their ongoing chronic health care a priority. The fear of catching the virus has kept patients at home, and this has been both financially and medically challenging.
What have you been doing to look after your wellbeing during this time and that of your family?
- I am ensuring that my family and I eat a good nutrient dense whole food diet and take adequate nutrient supplements to support our immune heath; that we prioritise sleep and regular exercise; and spend time in green spaces. I have been using the quieter time for more education, attending online conferences and webinars, as well as practicing daily mindfulness meditation, and keeping in touch with friends online to keep up the connection. This period has awakened my creative side, from writing, to cooking and experimenting with new recipes, to gardening and growing organic vegetables. Since the outbreak, my daughter has found a new passion and curiosity for the health and wellness industry, and so I have been working to support her in launching a new online wellness business. Overall, we have tried to focus and engage in activities that we enjoy and spend more quality time with each other.
Will you take away any positives from this experience?
- I have been able to spend more time with my family, and it has allowed me to slow down and prioritise what is important in life. It has given me time to learn new skills, read books, be more creative in the kitchen and experiment with cooking more healthy recipes (especially with restaurants being closed). I have been able to attend medical conferences from the comfort of my own home, and connect globally with like–minded people, which has been a real treat. I have spent more time on my own in self-reflection and have gained a lot through that process. Life, up until now, has been a roller coaster, and suddenly, I have time to cherish special moments with friends and family.
What advice would you give the general public at this current time?
- I would advise the general public to invest time in growing their own organic food, and to take great care of their immune health. I would also say to spend as much of this time engaging with the people who are important to you and look for the opportunities these unprecedented times present.
How do you think your time at Ashford School impacted you? Are there lessons or experiences that are helping you now?
- Boarding School is a challenge for any young girl, especially if your parents live abroad, as mine did. I moved to England form East Africa, and had to adapt to a new environment and cultural norms. Through this experience at Ashford School, I definitely learnt to be independent and more flexible. Since Secondary School and University, I have lived and worked in many different countries. For many this would have been a very stressful experience, but for me the experience was one of adventure. I maintained a positive outlook and took every opportunity to learn from the different cultures and countries I resided in, fulfilling my thirst for knowledge.
During your time at Ashford School, was there a person that inspired you and helped you be the person you are today?
- I was very fond of Miss O’Halloran, my Nightingale Housemistress. Being away from my family, I would often get homesick, and she was very nurturing, caring, accepting, and always ready to listen if ever you had a problem. I always admired these qualities and try to emulate them in the relationships I have with my patients.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time at Ashford School?
- My favourite memory from my time at Ashford School was performing at the farewell assembly in my final year, in which I was involved in choreographing and performing a staged dance. The experience was fun and bought laughter to all who saw it.
What made you choose your current career path?
- My grandfather was a cardiac and ENT surgeon and the President of the Indian Medical Council for 16 years. He inspired me to study Medicine, and to be of service to the sick. He attracted a lot of respect from his colleagues and associates, and I was always inspired by his successes and achievements.
What advice would you give to our current students?
- Never give up – persevere in whatever you are passionate about, and always be true to yourself!