Lachlan Swain (BHlthSc,MOccTherapy ’21), has enthusiastically embraced the opportunities created by his Master of Occupational Therapy degree, winning a graduate position at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in January 2022.
“Occupational therapists (OTs) are truly the facilitators and professionals that empower individuals to return to or gain independence/skills within their lives. It is an exciting profession whereby OTs can work across the spectrum of ages, conditions, and workplaces. I love how our profession is holistic and how every day brings, not only a different story but a new challenge for OTs to change or improve someone’s life,” says Lachlan.
As a new graduate occupational therapist for SA Health in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN), Lachlan will rotate through different roles, in different wards throughout the RAH, and other hospitals within CALHN (The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, or The Repat Health Precinct).
He began in January 2022 working in one of the General Medicine wards.
“General Medicine has provided a great foundation for my own understanding of barriers to engaging in occupations as well as safe discharge planning from a hospital. Having worked through a continuum of patients from an18 year old with complex neurological conditions, to facilitating end of life care discharges home, my work has been extremely rewarding,” says Lachlan.
Lachlan says he chose Flinders University to study Occupational Therapy because of its reputation among healthcare professionals and because the Masters degree opens a lot more opportunities for employment post-graduating.
“I loved the campus at Flinders University as well, being able to study in a vibrant environment full of nature was a great morale boost. Similarly, having classes at Flinders Medical Centre provided a great insight into the working nature of a hospital.
“Being able to get to know your tutors and lecturers is an amazing experience that is unique to Flinders. Our tutors are all experts in their specific fields of OT, and their guidance, knowledge, and support throughout the degree to each student is empowering. I have made so many lifelong friends from my degree at Flinders!”
Placements play a vital role in cementing learning in clinical settings and Lachlan says that his confidence in his current role as stems from the experience he had.
“My interests in occupational therapy were in adult rehabilitation, and I was lucky to have experienced the continuum of health care and rehabilitation throughout my placements. My first placement was in the acute care setting, at Flinders Medical Centre on the stroke ward. This gave me the insight and knowledge of the role of an OT from when a patient is first admitted to hospital, and how OTs provide the key role of facilitating discharge, as well as improving a patient’s ability to re-engage in everyday activities.
“My second placement was in the next stage of a patient’s rehabilitation journey, inpatient rehabilitation and community care. This placement was also a rural placement (Berri, in the Riverland), adding another unique dynamic and challenge. It was an amazing opportunity to experience the role of a ‘rural generalist’ OT, whereby in a single day I could work within paediatrics, inpatients in the Riverland General Hospital, outpatients with the hand therapy clinic, and hit the road to see individuals in the community.
“My final placement was in a community rehabilitation and private practice setting with MPOT. This placement brought to light the NDIS sector and the role of an OT working with clients with complex disabilities in the community. This is where I learnt many skills such as wheelchair and equipment prescriptions, home modifications, community rehabilitation, and advocacy for clients through report writing.
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