Graduate story: Meredith Gardiner
Occupational Therapist (OT) Meredith Gardiner was offered a role as a casual occupational therapy assistant just four weeks into the final practical placement of her degree. Five weeks after she graduated, she began working as an occupational therapist.
"I worked for six months on the general medical unit at Gold Coast University Hospital with patients who had complex co-morbidities. My role was primarily to assess patients' level of function, cognition and home environment," Meredith said. Meredith is now working in rehabilitation at the Carrara Health Centre, which is also under the auspices of Queensland Health.
Meredith chose Southern Cross University because it offers practical placements in each year of the four-year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, not just at the end.
"I knew if I went on placement I would know pretty quickly if I wanted to become an OT or not," she said. "The clinical placements also set me up to get a job with Queensland Health because I knew the systems and processes and I made really good connections."
Meredith also liked the accessibility of her lecturers. "They were always very approachable and available," she said.
"My patients are generally older in age. Many are recovering from surgery or orthopaedic conditions, but are not physically ready to go home, while others require geriatric evaluation and assessment to determine if they can return to living at home or require additional support.
"As an OT in this setting, I focus on how patients are able to conduct activities of daily living, like being able to have a shower, get dressed and prepare a meal.
"We give them opportunities to practise those skills in a safe environment before going home."