Chelsea's career as an occupational therapist gets off to a healthy start

Published:05 February 2020

Chelsea Thompson smiling to camera whilst holding graduation certificate from Occupational Therapy with CQUniversity.

Chelsea Thompson has progressed into her career since graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from CQUni.

Recent CQUniversity Occupational Therapy graduate Chelsea Thompson is taking her future head-on, proving to her family and herself that success is measured by dedication and determination.

The 21-year-old proud Indigenous woman from the Kara Kara tribe of the Central Highlands region, has shared her personal journey at CQUni to encourage others to follow in her footsteps.

“I always knew that after school I wanted to study. My mother was the one who told me I would make a good occupational therapist so I researched it and thought I would really enjoy it,” she said.

“Tertiary study was always something that both I and my sister, Hannah, were set on doing. To build ourselves a career that we would love and continue to learn in.

“My family encouraged us to continue studying and were always very supportive whilst we were studying. I also have a younger brother who is in his third year of an electrical apprenticeship.

“CQU also offered a great course in the subject so I applied, and it was also a lot easier being able to stay in Rockhampton and live at home while studying, rather than moving to a different city to study.”

Chelsea was also fortunate to receive a BMA (BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance) Indigenous Scholarship during her studies.

“I was able to use my scholarship payments to buy a laptop, my textbooks each term and any other expenses, including books and pens,” she said.

“It also supported me when I was on placements and unable to work, especially when I was on a placement in Brisbane with all living expenses including groceries, fuel, and rent for the seven weeks I was away.”

She said she the Occupational Therapy course was extensive and provided her with a broad range of skills and opportunities.

“I was given multiple opportunities that encouraged my learning and development as an occupational therapist, including an overseas placement in Thailand, three block placements, in-class activities and a wide range of other learning opportunities with not only other occupational therapy students but also with students from physiotherapy, speech therapy, and psychology.

Since graduating last year, Chelsea is now working as an occupational therapist at LiveBetter in Rockhampton.

“To me being an occupational therapist is about helping others live a more independent life through therapy and adapting tasks to help people do what they want and need to do and reaching their personal goals,” she said.

“Occupational Therapy is a very fulfilling and rewarding profession and I can't wait to continue to learn and grow my skills as an occupational therapist.

“After working in Australia for a few years I hope to eventually take my work abroad again for more experiences in other countries just like my placement in Thailand.”

She encouraged other people to consider study at CQUniversity.

“I tell people to do it. Even though it's going to be a few more years of studying and hard work, it will pay off,” she said.

“There is such a variety of courses available at not only CQU, but other universities and TAFE as well, if you have a dream, university can be a stepping-stone to getting there. You’ll also make lifelong friends and connections with other health professionals that can help you in the long run.”