Connecting health professionals from the Midwest-Gascoyne region of Western Australia

The Midwest-Gascoyne Health Professionals Network welcomes health professionals from throughout the Midwest-Gascoyne region of Western Australia.  Registration to the site allows access to extensive support resources not available to general users.

Aboriginal health worker
ATSI health practitioner
Chinese medicine practitioner
Clinical psychologist
Community health representative
Dental hygienist
Dental therapist
Dental specialist
Dental medical specialist
Diabetes educator
Exercise physiologist
Federal health representative
General practitioner

Health administration
Health agency representative
Health promotion
Hospital doctor
Medical radiation practitioner
Medical specialist
Mental health professional
Nurse – enrolled
Nurse – registered
Nurse and midwife
Nurse practitioner
Occupational therapist

Podiatric surgeon
Practice administration
Practice manager
Public health representative
Social worker
Speech pathologist
State health representative
Student – health
Student – medicine
University representative

Photos from the Geraldton end of year sundowner

Meet a local health professional

Introducing Sam Bulten
Exercise Physiologist at Panaceum Group Geraldton

What are your professional interests/specialities?
My special interests are in mental health conditions, paediatrics, autism and pain conditions. I am starting my masters in pain management next year to specialise in this area.

Tell us, where you are from and how did you get to be an Exercise Physiologist in the Midwest-Gascoyne region?
I am originally from The Netherlands,I moved to Carnarvon 13 years ago with my family and then Geraldton a few years later. I met my wife here and after exploring a small portion of the world, attending university and living in Newman, we came back to Geraldton in 2020.

What do you love about the Midwest-Gascoyne? The lifestyle. It has got almost everything you need while still having the ‘coastal town’ feel. I personally love the beach and any activities that involve the ocean.

When you aren’t working, where will we find you? I do like to practice what I preach and you can often find me going for a jog, at the gym, or playing basketball. I also love fishing, free-diving and other outdoor activities with friends, usually always followed by a long nap!

Did you always want to be an EP? Not always, I discovered it in year 11 when I met EP Zac Jefcoate (as a patient). I was intrigued by what he did and his approach and looked into this further. I quickly found a love for exercise and physical activity and especially enjoyed the mental health benefits it provided for me.
During my studies I realised I had chosen the profession that perfectly aligns with my values, beliefs and vision. What is most rewarding about being an EP is that our treatment is completely active. So when our treatment is effective the patient is going to feel empowered and have a greater sense of self-efficacy. As they have essentially “healed/recovered/managed” their condition themselves and only needed my guidance.

What are your passions? I will have to go with a cliché answer which is the same reason (I hope) anyone becomes a health professional and that is to help people.
Exercise has an enormous amount of health benefits and can be an effective treatment for various medical conditions (which most of us know). However, a large number of Australians don’t meet the physical activity guidelines and remain sedentary. I am passionate about going on the journey with a patient to find strategies that get them to become more active long-term. I am a great believer that anything is better than nothing (which was confirmed in the latest WHO guidelines) and that exercise should be as enjoyable and meaningful to the person as possible (a.k.a the self-determination theory).
There are certain areas that I am especially passionate about and I find rewarding. As I mentioned earlier I found that I especially enjoyed the mental health benefits from exercise. The good thing is that I was not an outlier and that there is solid research in this area to show how great exercise is for brain health, mental health well-being and even as part of treatment for mental health conditions.
Other than mental health, I have developed a great passion for assisting people in pain to lead a more active lifestyle. We now know that pain (especially MSK related pain) is never just mechanical and is far more complex. I enjoy trying to help people make sense of their pain and give them permission to move and work on a progressive plan to get them back to activities they value and enjoy.

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