Master of Occupational Therapy graduate Eliza Andersen (BHlthSc/MOccTherapy ’20) has found her passion.
Completing both a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Occupational Therapy at Flinders University in 2020, Eliza is now a paediatric occupational therapist at Making Sense Occupational Therapy, a private practice in Adelaide.
She says the transferable skills and clinical practice she gained at Flinders, and through diverse work placements, created invaluable experiences towards establishing her career as an OT.
Eliza’s first stint was an observational placement at Nazareth Catholic Community Centre before being stationed at the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre.
“Initially I had minimal knowledge on the work OT’s could do with spinal injuries.” she says. “But after completing the placement, I felt like I had found my calling and a spark for ‘spinals’ that I never knew I had was ignited.
“I will forever cherish and remember the clients I worked with and the time I spent at Hampstead.”
Eliza’s next placement was within the Flinders Medical Centre’s Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit.
“This placement helped me to see the true blessing and complexities of working in GEM,” she says. “I was able to learn so much about dementia and cognitive decline through ageing. I was also able to develop so many therapeutic modes and clinical expertise by working with the older generation that I wasn’t aware would be done.”
Despite the invaluable learning experiences of her clinical placements, Eliza admits there were challenges that exposed her to the reality of caring for people with traumatic injuries.
“It is a normal human response to be empathetic, especially in traumatic cases which I found this in spinal cord injury. It is important to separate your life and work life, and make sure that you are caring for yourself too.”
Eliza is now enjoying her work as a paediatric occupational therapist in private practice.
“I am thoroughly enjoying working with these beautiful children and their families and I feel so fulfilled within my career already,” she says.