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Exploring Occupational Therapy: A Journey with Sophia from Brisbane to Hervey Bay

Sophia standing outside St Stephen's private hospital in Hervey Bay

Meet Sophia, an Occupational Therapist whose journey led her to unexpected and enriching experiences in the regional coastal town of Hervey Bay.

Occupational Therapists at The Wesley Hospital and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital are offered the chance to embark on a six-month rotational program to St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay.

This initiative provides them with a glimpse into the dynamics of other UnitingCare Hospitals and the chance to immerse themselves in a regional healthcare setting. For Sophia, this opportunity sparked a sense of curiosity and adventure.

On her rotation at St Stephen’s, Sophia embarked on what she describes as an exciting experience which has helped shape her career.

Although her placement was cut short to just eight weeks due to an urgent role back in Brisbane, Sophia attests that the experience was nothing short of amazing, encouraging others to seize similar opportunities.

One of the highlights for Sophia was the picturesque setting of Hervey Bay, where the hospital provided accommodation right on the waterfront. This allowed her to indulge in morning beach walks which she enjoyed so much.

Sophia said the patient demographic at St Stephen’s presented a notable contrast to her experiences in Brisbane. With a focus on a different set of needs and a younger case load, Sophia found herself deeply engaged in building rapport and tailoring interventions to individual patient goals.

She cherished the extended time she could spend with each patient, fostering strong therapeutic relationships which is an important part of her practice.

The role demanded out-of-the-box thinking, prompting Sophia to hone her problem-solving skills and adapt to new technologies seamlessly. St Stephen’s, being a digital hospital, provided a stimulating environment for learning and growth—an aspect that Sophia embraced wholeheartedly.

Working within a smaller team proved to be another rewarding aspect for Sophia. The close-knit environment fostered camaraderie, with colleagues extending warm welcomes and offering insider tips on local activities and dining spots.

Sophia fondly recalls the shared experiences, including unforgettable moments like whale watching which she was able to do with family and friends while they were visiting her.

Reflecting on her experience, Sophia emphasises how the rotation has enhanced her clinical practice, making her a more versatile and compassionate clinician. She encourages others to embrace similar opportunities, knowing firsthand the profound impact they can have on personal and professional development.

Through exploration, adaptability, and a passion for patient care, Sophia exemplifies the spirit of Occupational Therapy—a profession dedicated to empowering individuals on their path to wellness.