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ECU Occupational Therapy students put theory into practice

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Students from Edith Cowan University's Occupational Therapy program have made a big impression during a practical placement at Westcare Industries.

Alexander Heights resident Jessica Murphy was one of four students who worked at Westcare Industries one day each week for 13 weeks as part of their second-year practical placement. Westcare Industries is a Western Australian organisation that provides employment and training for people with disabilities to enhance their lifestyles. Jessica, along with fellow students Collette Burns, Aida Suljic and Megan Flowers, was allocated individual clients to work with for the duration of the placement.

The students assessed the needs of each client, researched options and solutions, and then put forward a business case outlining the costs associated with proposed solutions.

Jessica says that working at Westcare has broadened her understanding of occupational therapy and the impact it can have in the workplace. "I gained a greater knowledge of supported employment workplaces and even began learning Australian sign language," she said. "While working at Westcare I've learnt to work independently, which is great preparation for a career in occupational therapy."

Westcare's Disability Services Manager, Darrell Andrews, says that the students have come up with some innovative ideas and recommendations. "The assessments conducted by ECU OT students are both meaningful and rewarding for Westcare employees," he said. "These students have made a fantastic contribution and we are looking forward to working with ECU students again in the future."

ECU Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Rosemarie Dravnieks says that workplace learning is a strong focus of the Occupational Therapy course from day one. "Students begin their clinic visits within two weeks of starting the course," she said. "Practical placements provide students with an outstanding opportunity to experience a diverse range of occupational therapy settings first-hand, with guidance from qualified supervisors."

For more information about a career in Occupational Therapy at ECU, visit

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