New graduate becomes occupational therapist

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New graduate becomes occupational therapist


Published on 21 January 2014

Eumundi’s Alice Turner has only just completed her Occupational Therapy degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast but she’s already preparing to start her dream job at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

After Twittering her excitement about the Queensland Health job offer in November, at the end of her four-year USC degree, Alice is about to move to Coorparoo to start work at the Brisbane hospital on 3 February.

The 21-year-old former Noosa District State High School student said she couldn’t wait to begin her occupational therapy rotations.

Her first position will be in the Medical Assessment and Planning Unit (MAPU) and then she is likely to gain experience in a rehabilitation ward in the area of aged care, spinal cord injury or acquired brain injury.

Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Acting Director of Occupational Therapy Ruth Cox said the hospital placed great value on supporting new graduates to gain essential clinical experience during their first year of qualification.

Ms Turner said she had wanted to be an OT since she did work experience in Year 10 at the Eden Rehabilitation Centre in Cooroy.

“It looked like a lot of fun and I’ve always wanted to help people. Lots of my family work in health care,” she said.

“Occupational therapists assist people in getting back to their everyday lives after a major life event such as a stroke or mental illness. You can make genuine connections with patients who are going through a really hard time.

“It’s very rewarding to see your OT skills making a significant, positive difference to people’s lives.”

Ms Turner said she was grateful to USC for her work placements with occupational therapist across the Sunshine Coast during her degree.

She notched up more than 1,000 hours at workplaces such as Eden, Nambour Selangor Private Hospital and the USC Child and Youth Clinic.

“Each placement was different and gave me opportunities to explore many fields of occupational therapy,” she said.

She also made the most of her USC experience, volunteering to run OT stalls at Open Day and OT Week, supervise first-year students, organise the OT balls, make presentations at education events and join the USC OT reference group.

Ms Turner will officially graduate from the University of the Sunshine Coast at its 2014 Graduation Ceremony in April.

— Julie Schomberg

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