Nicole Anderson’s path to entrepreneurship started at Confederation College - but not in the business program. She took nursing, and says the hands-on learning experience at the college allowed her to really grow in the field and realize her potential. She worked as a nurse in Manitoba for a few years, then came back to Thunder Bay to be closer to family when she and her husband were expecting.
While there are many career opportunities for nurses, it is still difficult to find a job that has a good work-life balance. With two young children, Anderson was looking for a “day job,” and she worked at the Good Doctors clinic in Kakabeka Falls, facilitating Telehealth appointments for patients in the area.
During that time, she gained a lot of experience in ear flushing, but when the Ontario government decided it would no longer be covered by OHIP in October 2019, she decided that she needed to branch out.
Over the years, she had seen many elderly patients and patients with diabetes, so she went to Toronto to become certified in advanced and diabetic foot care and started the Foot Care and Ear Flushing Centre in January 2020.
She provides regular foot care for diabetic patients, as well as ear flushing. COVID hit shortly after she opened, and for a while she was only able to see urgent cases. She installed a powerful air purifier in the treatment room, and tools such as nippers, files and ear-flushing tips are all single-use.
She is also certified in a painless, non-surgical procedure to correct ingrown toenails called Onyfix. It costs $120 per toe, and takes under an hour. She takes off the top layer of the nail, then attaches a band that forces the nail to grow straight. “It’s like braces for toenails,” she explains.
Her ear flushing clients are predominantly seniors, although she occasionally sees children as well. Maintaining clean ears is particularly important for people with hearing aids, Anderson says, because ear wax can block the filters.
With diabetic patients, she goes beyond just taking care of their feet; lifestyle management is a big part of her job. “Patient teaching is very important; the dos and don’ts. I talk about their diet, or smoking, and give advice for buying shoes (buy in the evening after your feet are swollen,)” she explains.
The Foot Care and Ear Flushing Centre is now open from Monday to Friday, by appointment only. In the future, Anderson hopes to start home-visits for ear flushing.