Behind the Counter in Hurstpierpoint

In 2007 Nicki Newson decided to take control of her own destiny. At the time she was a nurse working for the NHS, but things were tough. This is the story of how an osteopathy and complementary health clinic landed on the High Street, right where they used to sell combine harvesters!

By David Tingley

Nicki has always loved working with people. Her career started when she qualified as a nurse and has worked at various hospitals in Sussex, including Southlands in Shoreham. She has worked in some particularly challenging departments but none more so than Intensive Care. “The High Dependency Unit,” Nicki recalled, “was a place where things change so fast. Clearly some tragic events took place there, but also some amazing breakthrough moments too.”

We don’t just treat the symptom, we look at the person as a whole.
— Nicki Newson

The frustrations of the National Health Service were taking their toll on Nicki however, and she began to look for a way out. Nicki explained: “I’d always had an interest in complementary health, and I’d seen an osteopath myself over many years, so I took the decision to retrain.”

After deciding to retrain, Nicki moved to working in the Private sector, mainly in the High Dependency Unit at the Sussex Nuffield. It took four years full-time for her to gain a BSc degree in Osteopathy, during which time she continued to work as a nurse in HDU and latterly in Casualty in Ashford, Kent. “The course was a tough one, with evenings and holidays taken up in the student clinic from year two onwards. I graduated in 2003.” It was a very difficult course, both physically and academically, but when she graduated she was awarded Best Clinician of the year.

In the early 2000s, 135-137 High Street was a retail unit for agricultural machinery supplier Harper and Eede Limited. “It may seem unbelievable to some, but there was a yard at the back (now built on) with all sorts of massive farm equipment in! The High Street was very different, even only 11 years ago,” Nicki comments. Despite a lot of interest in the site in 2007, she managed to secure it for what she was planning.

The location was perfect, as she was living in Brighton at the time but was used to working around Lewes and Haywards Heath – so Nicki had plenty of contacts.

“It was always going to be a team business,” she explains. “One of the key enjoyable aspects of my nursing career was being part of a team, so I was keen to work with and alongside like-minded practitioners who could all work together.”