President Piece – 28 October 2019

Welcome to October,

Thank you to Kylie and the previous board members for their contributions to DRTA over the past three years. I am excited about the possibilities and prospects for our profession in the coming years. The opportunity to work with a forward-thinking board with Toni (VP1), Kim (VP2), Glenda (Sec), Kylie (Tres) and our state representatives Rachel (NSW), Leah (Qld), Darren (SA), Kayla, (Vic) Nicole (WA) and Chris (Tas). This weekend I am hitting the ground running, by attending a workshop on Governance and Board Effectiveness in the Not for Profit Sector to further understand the challenge I am undertaking. By the end of the year, we hope to update the strategic plan to drive the association and profession forward.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the president of our professional association. I have been asked to let you know a little about me so here we go…… I started working in aged care in 1993 as a RAO and AIN in a number of hostels (low care) and nursing homes (high care) in Sydney before getting a part time RAO position in a nursing home with 88 residents. I completed an Advanced Certificate (now known as a cert 4) in Working With Older People at Kogarah TAFE in 1993 and 1994 while working. In 1996, I started the Bachelor of Applied Science (Diversional Therapy) at WSU as a mature aged student and working part time. I then worked at Port Kembla Hospital in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation. In 1998, a colleague (Kathleen McConville) and I travelled to Ireland, consulting to the Irish Health Board at a number of different hospitals across the country and organising DT workshops.

Upon my return to Australia, I started working for the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) at Bankstown Hospital, completing a Master’s in Health Services Management through distance education. While working for ACAT, I also started lecturing in the therapeutic recreation program at Western Sydney University. I worked casually (every semester) at the university until 2013, when I moved over to a full-time position at WSU, The College as the Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the health science and nursing programs. I am also currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Philosophy at Western Sydney University with my research based on Clinical Reasoning in Diversional Therapy Practice.

We would appreciate any input you have into the development of the Associations strategic plan, regarding things you believe are important to drive our profession forward. We have some first-year students doing work placements in therapeutic recreation, health service management, and health promotion, participating in some small projects in November, including making a video pitched to high school students about our profession and developing a monthly program resource for members to access.

We are also working towards developing a submission for the Aged Care Royal Commission. Any ideas you have about what you believe should go into this document, once again would be appreciated. Some of these discussions are based around staffing ratios, resources and the level of education a sole practitioner should have to practice in aged care to ensure best practice and client safety.

Please contact the office, if you have any ideas and Diana or Jodie will forward them on to the board.

Have a fantastic month,
Until December,

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