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Karen's social work journey in a field of 'uncompromising care'

Karen's social work journey in a field of 'uncompromising care'

Published:13 November 2017

Social Work student Karen Anderson has thrived during her placement at the Lifehouse Service.

Karen Anderson is convinced she chose the right professional pathway, thanks to her Social Work degree's student placements.

After an initial placement in the field of child protection, the CQUni honours student is now coming to the end of a five-month placement at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Care Service in Sydney.

“My second child had cancer when she was a baby so it was confronting at first to separate out my personal and professional feelings, when I first arrived at Lifehouse,” Karen says.

“I also have an affinity with loss and bereavement through my work as a photographer for the Heartfelt organisation, which supports families who have experienced the loss of an infant.”

Karen, a mum of three who resides in Sydney, decided to start on her Social Work degree when her youngest child reached upper primary school.

She has thrived in her placement at the Lifehouse Service, a 125-bed private cancer hospital which is also involved in research and clinical trials.

At first she was shadowing the resident social worker but later progressed to having her own caseload of in-patients and out-patients.

“Through Lifehouse I’ve been part of a multidisciplinary team supporting the patient through their journey,” Karen says.

“Lifehouse is also closely aligned with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, so I have had these additional opportunities for learning and professional development.

“Now I am nearing the end of my fourth-year placement I am seeking graduate opportunities as a hospital-based social worker.”