When I left school, I thought I would have a career in change management. I studied a Bachelor of Science, majoring in mathematics and psychology. While at the University of Queensland, I was introduced to the world of speech pathology and was intrigued to learn a career in speech pathology included a strong medical focus around the science of speaking, communicating and swallowing. I was fascinated with how we develop from an embryo and how we learn to understand and speak a language. It was exciting to know I could work in a rewarding profession that helped people communicate and enjoy eating and drinking.
What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievements to date?
My greatest professional achievement would have to be growing and nurturing a team of speech pathologists who are as motivated as me to improve the communication, social participation and mealtime experience of adults living in the community and aged care homes. My business, Loqui Speech Pathology, employed its first Speech Pathologist in 2014 and has grown to a team of 28. This has resulted in creating strong career pathways for speech pathologists within the aged care sector.
I am proud of the high standard of care our clients receive. With the teams combined experiences and advocacy skills we have been able to undertake quality improvement projects with aged care homes relating to eating and drinking, “Dignity of Risk”, our wellness choir and cognitive communication programs.
What does the next 12 months look like for you professionally?
Over the next 12 months we will be enhancing our education offerings. I will be completing my business course and advancing my mentoring skills. I anticipate our University of Queensland research project looking into referral pathways and identification of dysphagia in aged care will be at the data collection phase.
Three major external influences will keep me and our team busy over the next 12 months. They include:
What does winning this award mean to you?
It is an absolute honour to receive this award. It is recognition for the enthusiasm and commitment our team have given to Loqui, research, quality projects, teaching and clinical growth. It is wonderful to see Speech Pathology and aged care in the spotlight, recognising the pivotal role speech pathologists have in supporting adults living in community and aged care to improve their care and standard of life. The awards recognise the amazing things allied health professionals are doing in their every day and celebrates the high calibre of nominees and finalists.
What’s your message to the allied health community?
Follow your interests, dream and passions. An allied health professional can practice in a multitude of areas, be it clinical, academia, research, teaching, management or advocacy. Create your own pathway dependent on your personal interests. Stay active in your professional association and connect with other allied health professions for support, mentorship and motivation. If you ever consider running a private practice keep your core focus and vision in mind and know that what you create will be as unique and individual as you.
Pick up a copy of ALLIED Magazine from their website to view all the winners of the 2019 Allied Health Awards.