Occupational Therapy students help community

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Occupational Therapy students help community


Published on 22 May 2014

Two University of the Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy (OT) students haven’t had to go far to gain on-the-job experience and help patients in the community.

Final-year OT students Ange Vitler, of Maroochydore, and Amy Cornelius, of Buderim, are into the third week of their 10-week clinical placement at the Wound Solutions Clinic on campus at USC.

The clinic officially opened at USC’s Health and Sport Centre last October as a joint initiative of the University and not-for-profit service provider Blue Care.

Every Monday it offers clients with chronic wounds specialised care provided by Blue Care registered nurses, dietitians, a podiatrist and USC Health students.

Mrs Vitler, who works in the health industry and is studying for a career change, said the placement involved an excellent variety of work and the convenient location helped while she managed her busy family of four children.

“This is increasing my clinical skills and knowledge, specific to the area of wound care,” she said.

Ms Cornelius, who moved to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane for USC’s OT program, said the clinic provided great opportunities to apply what she had learnt from outstanding lecturers.

“This is something I really enjoy and I look forward to having breakthroughs with patients in treatment outcomes,” she said.

USC’s OT Clinical Placement Trainer Marie Bridgman said the students were learning how to educate patients about such topics as falls prevention, energy conservation and participation in work and hobbies, to improve the safety and quality of their lives in the community.

“They’re helping patients live with wounds, often from chronic and debilitating diseases,” said Ms Bridgman, an occupational therapist who has specialist clinical skills in rehabilitation.

“This is the second group of OT students undertaking placements at the clinic and we expect many more.”

The clinic was made possible by funding from Health Workforce Australia (HWA) as an Australian Government initiative.

The OT students said they were also enjoying the other component of this shared placement at Nambour Selangor Private Hospital, to gain a diversity of clinical experiences before completing their USC degrees.

Julie Schomberg

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