Mother, Nurse, Travel Entrepreneur

Nurse, Mother and now Travel Medicine Entrepreneur

Laurel Rayani B.S.N. R.N. is a mother of two young children, an accomplished public health nurse, avid traveller and now a travel medicine entrepreneur.

Laurel grew up in Northern B.C. and then travelled with her family to Mexico and later to Australia, as her father a mining engineer, moved from project to project. Itchy feet became part of Laurel's DNA and since obtaining her nursing degree at UBC she has travelled to India, Africa, Nepal, Western Europe, Indonesia and most recently Japan. Laurel's love of travel and her background in public health nursing led her to a unique opportunity - travel medicine.

"I have always loved exploring new cultures and visiting new places. I have lived in Victoria longer than anywhere else but I am still passionate about seeing the world and helping others to do it safely", said Rayani, who while working as a student nurse in Tanzania in Africa, observed first hand the impacts of malaria and other travel maladies.

"Travelling to exotic locations can be extremely rewarding and some of the best memories of my life are from overseas adventures. With a little common sense and planning you can easily avoid succumbing to things like traveler's diarrhea, which could put a real damper on a trip.”

Laurel is launching Victoria Travel Clinic at the Peoples Pharmacy at 1282 Fairfield Rd. The clinic offers travel vaccines, a thorough review of itineraries, education on the prevention and self-treatment of travel related diseases as well as individual health assessments. Laurel is particularly excited about including her other passion – working with families and young ones.

“As a mother of young children I know the kind of planning and care required to travel with little ones. I have worked as a neo-natal nurse as well as in public health and have given thousands of injections. Parents want to know that the trauma of a vaccination or injection is minimized and the comfort of their child is maximized. There are also specific travel considerations for children that one might not consider, like avoiding contact with unknown animals in order to prevent exposure to rabies.”

The Victoria Travel Clinic is unique in that it is the only International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) certified travel clinic and pharmacy in Victoria. The ISTM certifies practitioners to ensure that they are educated about and qualified to provide travel medicine services in an ever evolving and very specialized field. Laurel was also eager to build an integrated practice with pharmacist Lin Ma, who has extensive travel experience and collaborative physicians at the Sitka Health Centre. Laurene Prosser, a certified compression stocking fitter is also part of the team.

“It is extremely important for me to launch this business the right way. Ensuring we were ISTM certified is a way for the public to know that we measure ourselves to the highest international standard of travel medicine and it provides us access to the latest and most relevant travel health information. ”

In addition to travel health services, Laurel is eager to work with new mothers and children utilizing her other areas of expertise. “I will be offering breast feeding coaching and stress management training. I am a certified Heartmath instructor and have been working with new mothers for more than a decade in the hospital and public health.”

Being an entrepreneur and a mother can be quite challenging. “I was a little daunted at the idea of launching this business but my family has been very supportive. My father-in-law, Naz Rayani, was eager for me to do this at his pharmacy and everything has really fallen into place. This business will give me an opportunity to bring my love for travel, health and families together. My grandmother was an entrepreneur and I am excited to follow in her footsteps. I think the community will really benefit from our services.”

Laurel’s Travel Tips:

    A little planning goes a long way: As soon as you have your destination picked you can start to talk to your travel health specialist to understand what precautions will be necessary.

    Following a few simple rules can be the best protection. Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer. When considering food- boil it, peel it, cook it or forget it. If the availability of clean water is questionable, take a water purification kit.

    Our pharmacy can help: Having some basic supplies on hand can be a lifesaver – literally! Make sure you have your prescription medications, a basic first aid kit if you are going somewhere remote and you can enjoy your adventure with peace of mind.