Upon completion of her Master of Occupational Therapy degree, Flinders graduate Eliza Andersen is confident she has found her passion.
The Master of Occupational Therapy graduate is heading into 2021 off the back of a rewarding year completing her degree and taking on board invaluable experiences from various work placements throughout her studies.
The first stint was an observational placement at Nazareth Catholic Community Centre before heading to the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and stationed within the Spinal Cord Injury Unit.
“Initially I had minimal knowledge on the work OT’s could do in spinals and was not interested in this area,” she says.
“After completing this 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 there and the time I spent at Hampstead.”
Eliza’s next placement was within the Flinders Medical Centre’s Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit and again she had no idea what to expect.
“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.
“It was also so beautiful hearing stories of the older generation.”
Despite the invaluable learning experience, Eliza admits there were challenges that exposed her to the reality of caring for people with traumatic injuries.
“During placement personal challenges included becoming emotionally fatigued,” she says.
“It is a normal human response to be empathetic, especially in traumatic cases and I found this in spinal cord injury. It can burn you out.
“It is important to separate your life and work life, and make sure that you are caring for yourself too.”
Completing her degree at the end of 2020, Eliza has entered the workforce as a paediatric occupational therapist at Making Sense Occupational Therapy, a private practice in Adelaide.
“I am thoroughly enjoying working with these beautiful children and their families and I feel so fulfilled within my career already,” she says.
The skills and clinical practice she gained during her time at Flinders will carry Eliza into future endeavours.
“I will carry everything I have learnt into whatever area I end up in and it will be transferable,” she adds.