What’s more gratifying than digging out a corn or ingrown toenail from a foot? Ask Lucie Nadeau and she’d say very few things. Though for the registered practical nurse, a close second would be working with others in the community and having an impact. Luckily, she says, her job allows her to do both.
Nadeau, who owns and operates Lucie’s Mobile Foot Care, started her business in 2015 after deciding to make a career change nearly a decade ago while working with methadone patients at a local addiction treatment centre. Since making the switch to focus on feet, Nadeau says she hasn’t looked back.
“There’s a lot of pride that goes into owning your own business,” she says. “I love my clients. I love hearing their stories. I love talking to people and I know you have to be a little bit weird to like foot care, but playing with people’s toes—it makes my day.”
Lucie’s Mobile Foot Care offers a wide range of services from foot cleaning, foot assessments, nail trimming and filing, reducing toenail thickness, removing calluses, warts, or corns and providing referrals to physicians or podiatrists. Nadeau is also bilingual and will visit homes as well as long term care facilities. She travels anywhere within Thunder Bay and surrounding communities such as Kakabeka Falls, Murillo, Oliver Paipoonge, Nipigon, Shuniah and Atikokan.
In the age of COVID-19, Nadeau says she’s felt like an anomaly in small business. Her services have been in demand, as she notes a number of other foot care facilities had to shut their doors during the pandemic. Currently, she’s reached her capacity of 500 clients and it’s resulted in her working 10-12 hour days, nearly seven days a week.
But as taxing as it’s been between packing in appointments, keeping up with regular COVID-19 testing and strictly adhering to federal and provincial health standards, Nadeau says she knows that she’s not just been helping people in way of foot care. She realizes how important her visits to isolated clients, particularly seniors, have been during these difficult times.
“People are very, very lonely right now,” she says. “There’s been a lot of hearing people talk out their anxieties and fears. I know that in many ways I’m also a friendly face and a pair of ears to hear them out.”
When lockdowns and social distancing have subsided, Nadeau says she hopes to attend a number of professional nursing and foot care conferences. This is key to providing her patients with up to date, relevant care, she says. And in her mind providing those in need with the best service possible is all she really strives for, no matter what the state of the world is.