Allied Health Podcast Series 1 Episode 7

Q&A with Mia Pearn, 2020 Graduate Occupational Therapist working in Paediatric Private Practice

In Episode 7 Danielle talks with Mia Pearn, 2020 Graduate Occupational Therapist working in Paediatric Private Practice in Sydney discussing transitioning to practice, the highlights and the challenges, and tips in finding a role and to succeed in your first year of practice!

Speaker You’re listening to Allied Health Podcast, talking all things Allied Health with your hosts, Danielle Weedon, physiotherapist, and Clare Jones, occupational therapist.

Clare Jones Welcome to episode seven of Allied Health Podcast. In this episode, Danielle and I talk with Mia Pearn, a 2020 graduate occupational therapist working in paediatric private practice in Sydney. We discuss transitioning to clinical practice, the highlights and the challenges, and tips for success in your first year of practice. Enjoy.

Danielle Weedon Today, Clare and I are joined by Mia Pearn, who is a graduate of 2020 from a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. So MediRecruit runs a number of information sessions for grads, assisting grads in getting a job and getting work ready. And actually, Mia we didn’t actually secure you your role, but we did have a lot to do with you in the lead up to you graduating and looking for work. So you met us in our in conversation for graduates online at the end of last year, I think. So do you want to introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you and when you graduated and your current role?

Mia Pearn Yeah, sure. So, yeah, we met last year during the very interesting COVID sessions, I guess via Zoom when I was back in my hometown feeling kind of isolated from my regular uni life and my friends and just wanting some guidance and a bit of conversation around how to go about applying for jobs and those sort of things because it felt a little bit out of touch in my small rural town where there was maybe one or two OTs working at the time. So I guess I’m an outgoing and active person. I love socialising, hanging out with friends, family. So I graduated in November of last year. However, because of COVID, we didn’t actually get to have our regular graduation ceremony. I also secured a job here in Sydney with Active OT for kids, so I moved up to Sydney in January of this year and was unable to go to my make-up graduation ceremony, as I was already working full time. Yeah, so I’ve just started living up here in Sydney. I moved from my rural town in Deniliquin, New South Wales, so quite a big move. I’m about eight and a half hours from home now and was originally studying in Deakin in Geelong. Working full time at the moment. My experience was a little bit different from, I guess, previous years in that, yeah, I secured a job in COVID times. So I guess the interviewing process and things like that looked a little different. I was lucky that COVID had sort of eased up a bit, I guess, in New South Wales at the time, and I was able to come up to Sydney and have a look at the organisation that I’m now working for, which was really important in knowing whether we’d be a good fit for each other. So, yeah, I flew up and had a look and had a trial, and then I came up for a week’s training as well, where I guess in OT it’s a little bit different that you do actually need to be in the setting to know whether it’s going to work for you and whether you’re going to work for them too.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, yeah. And your caseload, you’re working in a paediatric private practice.

Mia Pearn Yes, sorry, that’s yeah, paediatric private practice and trauma informed care. So it’s a little bit more specific too, which is a little bit interesting to wrap your head around as a new graduate, I guess, but that was kind of why I wanted to jump into that opportunity. I knew that it was going to be hard work and I knew that it was going to be something really different and a lot to take on. But I thought if I can do that at the beginning of my career, then hopefully anyway, after that’s going to be, yeah, it’s going to be a little bit easier or a little bit smoother sailing, I guess.

Clare Jones Threw yourself in at the deep end, Mia.

Mia Pearn Yeah, yeah, yeah. New place, new job. And yeah, quite a challenging caseload.

Danielle Weedon Challenging caseload. Yeah. So broadly, what would you say the last six months have been like as a graduate?

Mia Pearn So it’s been a really interesting ride, obviously navigating a new city, quite a while from home, new friends, making a family up here for myself, I guess. Obviously, a totally new living and working environment. I moved up. I was lucky that I got the opportunity to actually come up for a week and then another three days. My organisation flew me up, which was absolutely incredible. And I actually that’s sort of where my support from Danielle came. In that, hang on, is this actually real? And that sort of guidance was really, really helpful. So I was able to meet the team, and that’s really important and sort of started that friendship and those bonds when I first visited in November last year. And now obviously, I’m actually in lockdown in Sydney at the moment, so that looks a little bit different in terms of telehealth and things like that. I was actually lucky enough that in my final placement in 2020, I just scraped through before COVID really flared up in Melbourne and I was able to finish it all on site, I guess. So I never really got the opportunity to do too much via telehealth, which was a bit of a blessing in disguise. But then also in this kind of role, it’s a little bit tricky. However, I was lucky enough that I had a mentor in my hometown that I contacted, and through my own sort of resourcing, I was able to get some experience with telehealth. So that just sort of a little bit of insight into how that sort of works. It’s been really beneficial, but also my team where I work at the moment and my boss is super supportive in navigating this new telehealth world that we’re living in at the moment. I’m also really supportive in park sessions and things like that. You know, we can have therapy opportunities with some sticks and some stones and a creek, and that’s all we’ve got. So being really creative with that side of things. Our clinic at Active OT and the organisation is really nature based, so that’s something that I’m really interested in and I’ve kind of found more and more of an interest in that side of things since starting work there.

Danielle Weedon So two points in that, I suppose. From your first point is, we find it with our clients and candidates, that it is so important to get that cultural fit with an organisation. And like you said, your current organisation flew you there, you were able to meet them. But really, in terms of flourishing as a grad, I think having a cultural fit and having a company that you’re aligned with on lots of levels, not just the clinical nature of the work is so important.

Mia Pearn Yeah, definitely. And that’s the thing, that was a big thing flying up to Sydney and meeting a team – it’s like, oh, I kind of felt the pressure to, hey, the you know, they’ve given you this time and this opportunity, like, is it going to work? But from day dot my boss had sort of said that there’s no obligation to take the role, like we just want to make sure that the fit is right. I mean, with a [?] active OT, you’re going to assume that they’re quite active and they’re quite outgoing. And yeah, like, I guess you are going to be outside and that sort of thing. They offer surf therapy and we’re doing nature based therapy, and it’s trying to sort of get back to the basics of, I guess, you know, the weaving and whittling and things like that, that OT really originated with. So that’s been really, really interesting to learn, and I’ve always been a super outdoorsy kind of person. And I guess that’s probably what I love so much about Sydney now. I was definitely a Melbourne girl moving to Sydney, but now when I’m surrounded by beaches and bush walks and that sort of thing, it’s really nice and it fits really well with my job too that now my five hours of my day yesterday was at a park with kids and we’re skateboarding or we’re climbing hills and searching for rocks and things. So yeah, just taking that OT back to really, back to the basics, I guess, and how therapeutic that really is too, though.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, I mean, Clare, you’ve got the paediatric background when you were still practising. Do you have any questions around sort of the transition to paediatrics for a graduate?

Clare Jones Yeah, Mia, how have you found, I mean, I find that paediatrics is in some ways quite a different ballgame. How have you found it just in as much as you are – you’re not just working with the child, but you’re working with families as well. And how well prepared did you feel you were to to actually be dealing with the child and their family, rather than just focussing on the client or the participant?

Mia Pearn That’s really interesting in that I feel like, yeah, uni is really great in resourcing you with a lot of different things, but when you get into the workforce, it’s so broad and then it’s also so specific in other areas too. So it’s it’s really tricky. Like you do your interviewing and you do different little skills here and there at uni. But I guess it’s a lot more than just uni. It’s like your life experiences and things like that. And I guess being from a small country town, I’ve had to talk to people, you know, a lot of people. So you just – those personal skills, like those soft skills really come through, rather than, you know, the learnt anatomy and that sort of thing. And I guess also being kind to yourself that sometimes like at the beginning, I’m having tricky conversations with parents and really as a new graduate, sometimes I’m feeling like, do I actually know what I need to know for this specific role? Because sometimes, say trauma informed care, it can get pretty heavy sometimes, and especially now with COVID when people are coming and you’re trying to be the light in their lives at the moment for their kids, but also for them, you’re listening to them and what they’ve got to say, and that can be really tricky. And being OK with, Hey, look, actually, I don’t have the answer for you at the moment or I’m more than happy to find something out for you. And sitting with that. And I think being like real and authentic with them, that’s, that’s the best thing. Like, they go, OK, yeah, you’re a human too. And I’ve had that. I’ve had people say, like, you’re not expected to know everything. I just wanted to know whether you did. And if you don’t, that’s OK. And so, yeah, just being kind. I think that’s my biggest learning in the last six months of work is I have to take time for myself. I have to be kind to myself because if I don’t fill my own cup, I can’t fill anybody else’s. And that’s what I’m telling the parents at the moment, too, because it’s just, we’re just doing the best we can at the moment.

Clare Jones It’s a fantastic message for new graduates. I feel with occupational therapy, you go into a specialist area as a graduate, and it’s really easy to put an expectation on yourself that you are a specialist and you’re not. You’re at the very beginning of your next learning curve. And to be authentic and to be kind to yourself and to not have fear around communicating to your clients, your participants and their families that you are, you are still learning and you are at a junior level, but that you will go away and source information, and get that support from your supervision and your mentors and come back to them. It’s the best strategy to handle that stress that comes with, with being a graduate. I know that as a graduate, I really, really felt it. And it’s you need to work on ways to really reduce that anxiety, because it just doesn’t do any good for anyone.

Mia Pearn Yeah. And I think like we spoke before about say, imposter syndrome, like you’re working alongside with OTs, you know, they’d have got six to seven years old like, you know, people in management that have got 15 plus years of experience. And I’m thinking, how do I not, why do I not know the answer to this? Or is it just that simple? Where do I begin? And it’s like, Well, yeah, I haven’t had the 15 years, so you can’t expect yourself to know what a someone with 15 years of experience does know and especially, yeah, with paediatrics, it’s like so fun working with kids, but it’s also can be quite complex and these little kiddies come in and and now when I’m analysing kids, how like I didn’t feel like I’ve been, I didn’t feel like there’s been such a big difference. But now when I look, I’m like, Oh, I am able to analyse a lot deeper than initially, but that will keep building and you’ve got to be [?] that, yep, OK, even now, you’re better than before, but then you’re going to….’Cause the way we analyse in this clinic is very different to anything I’ve ever experienced in my school based placements or even in my paediatric settings that I previously had done some volunteering in or just through uni as well. Yeah, it sort of takes on more of a neurology side of analysis, so that have to be kind with that as well, that this is really, can be really deep stuff and you’re not really taught that in a textbook at uni, or even through lectures. So yeah.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, yep, yep. And what about the first few months of employment? What particular challenges did you find?

Mia Pearn First few months were, and I feel like it’s still, it’s up and down waves, like I’ll have days where I’m like, You, you got it, you got it. This is, this is great. And then there’s other days like, Oh, hang on. Do I actually know what I’m doing? Or am I just going through the motions and hoping that this, is this is what it is.

Danielle Weedon Yep.

Mia Pearn Yeah. But I think the first few months, I guess, were just tricky with trying to find that balance. And everyone talks about having a balance and being kind to yourself and making sure you’re doing things that are good for you. And that also understanding that, you know, it’s going to be tricky because you’re a new graduate, things are going to take a lot longer than they usually do. And you say, Oh geez, leaving on time and thinking, I’m going to leave too. But I know that I’m going home and I’m going to be up until 10, 10 o’clock, 10-11 o’clock at night and then also balancing that with a brand new city. So let’s try and make friends, because if you don’t have any connections here, you know, your outside life might be, will be pretty much nonexistent. And then, you know, work will become your life, which I know we’ve got a great culture at work and everybody really is – I’ve actually never seen it before – is a family at work. However, I just being the age I am and and being a new city, I really wanted to make sure that I did have a distinct work life and home life, just so that I could switch off. That was important to me. So I guess just making sure to like, at least if you do a few nice things for yourself that day or you take one hour for yourself, being OK with that and then knowing that, OK, if I’m going to work really hard today or I’m going to work later today, then maybe on the weekend, I’ll do something, something for home life, I guess. Yeah.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, yeah. And what about jumping back a little bit? But what did you find helpful when you were looking for work, or what was helpful in terms of securing employment?

Mia Pearn So I obviously attended the online Zoom session with you guys at MediRecruit. So that was really, that was pretty much the stepping stone. I felt, as I said, I felt really isolated at home. Everything was via Zoom for uni, so felt really disconnected, like, yeah, you log on and you have your lectures. But there’s, you know, there’s no human interaction other than the one hour that you’re in class. And because we’re in our fourth and final year, it was pretty much content, content, content, let’s get through it. Let’s do the assessments and move on. And also like that balance of seeing friends. Like I was in my hometown sitting in front of the computer all day. So there wasn’t really much human interaction other than on Zoom. So I remember sitting down at my desk in my room, OK, I’ve got to find, I’ve got to apply for a job. I don’t really know where I want to be, but I know that I don’t want to be working in my hometown just because at the beginning of my career, I really wanted to be in a city or something like that where I could get intense experience, just something a bit different. It’s not to say that I won’t back move back to like a rural area and, you know, be the one OT for paediatric aids, geriatrics, sports injuries and things like that. But at this point, I really wanted to be a bit more specialised and I knew that I had a passion for paediatrics. I just wasn’t sure in what capacity. And so I was having a look on Seek and that sort of thing, and I didn’t really know the process of how to sort of apply for a job. We started having that. So I watched, I went to our MediRecruit question and answers, and then in class, we started to talk a bit more about the interviewing process and things like that. I still actually think at uni there’s not enough of that. Yeah, it’s a bit of a navigating that sort of field yourself. However, people when I asked questions were really helpful. My mum was really, really great in helping me navigate that space as well. She’s a careers advisor, so that was really helpful.

Danielle Weedon Is she? Yeah, yeah.

Mia Pearn But then, yeah, I also had a mentor who really, really helped me in just understanding, interviewing process applications and things like that. And then through the MediRecruit questionnaires, I actually used the résumé template and then sort of changed that a little bit myself to apply to my current circumstances and my previous experience and things like that. And just, yeah, knowing the questions to sort of ask in interviews and things like, yeah, the culture, things like non-negotiables for you, were really beneficial from the question and answers. And then, yeah, just through other people in my class and cohort, just asking them. However, that was a little bit different in that we were all spaced out all over the nation, I guess.

Danielle Weedon The country, yeah.

Clare Jones Yes. And Mia, what were you looking for in a role? Like what were your non-negotiables? What did you have on your list in terms of trying to find a role that really matched well with you?

Mia Pearn So something that was really important, I guess, was the support for me if I was going to take on a specific role like in a specialised team, it was that I had a lot of support. So that actually ruled out kind of, I guess, Darwin. I really, so I had a few locations that I was willing to move. I wanted, I love Melbourne life, but I really wanted something different. So I thought I’d either move Sydney, Queensland or Darwin were potentials just for something new, because work for me was going to be a completely new experience and I wanted to live somewhere that I could also explore the new place. So in terms of looking at jobs online, Darwin was quite rural, and I knew from other people’s experience too that sometimes you can be one OT servicing, you know, a rural area. And as a new graduate, I just didn’t think that that was suitable for me. Not to say in the future, when I’ve got a little bit more experience behind me, I would actually really like to take on a role like that. So I guess, really, yeah, great work culture that it’s really super supportive. I also needed…location was also really important for me. So if I was to move to say Sydney or Queensland, I wanted to be in a place that I wanted to live and I would be able to access things that I wanted to see and do. So if I’m going to live in Sydney, I’m going to live in an area of Sydney that I can go and do and be lots of different things rather than, say, being in a more outer suburb, I guess, and not and taking an hour or an hour and a half to get to the city. Because for me, moving somewhere is for the exploration of the place as well. So that was super important and actually deterred me from quite a few other positions, even though a lot of, I guess, their qualities ticked so many of the boxes that I had.

Clare Jones Well, commute really impacts. It’s so important to to weigh up commute. I mean, commute really impacts your everyday living, and it can come down to whether or not you do want to spend, you know, two hours travelling to and from work a day. Some people don’t mind it, but for other people, it’s really important that you know, that the commute is minimised.

Mia Pearn Yeah, definitely. And I think that comes into that balance side of things too. You know, if you can get to and from work and you can be home. I have really big days at work, so I start at 7:15 and I finish at 5:30 each day. So they are really big days. And, you know, imagine getting home at nine o’clock and starting to prepare dinner. It’s just not feasible for me in my life. There’s plenty of people that I know, even that work in Sydney and live in Newcastle. And for me, I’m just like, how? How does that work? But I mean, if you’re passionate and you love your job? Sure. But for me, at this stage, I love that I can walk to work. That’s crazy, really. I feel like that’s crazy being in Sydney, but I love it and I’m really happy where I am. I think some other things were… Pay and things weren’t so crucial for me, just because I really understood that I am a new graduate and I really valued experience. And I guess, yeah, the learning and the mentoring and location and things like other things mattered a lot more than the salary. I think starting in one place and, you know, getting the knowledge and learning and growing. And then if you know, in time, I think, Oh, actually, this isn’t working for me, maybe we can negotiate or maybe I’ll move on to something else, but I think that I really valued the experience more than anything. Yeah. And so that’s where that whole support side of things came into it.

Clare Jones Yes. And do you work to billable hours now?

Mia Pearn I do. Yep, I work to billable hours and we have KPIs set. However, my team and my boss is actually super supportive in that because I do actually have quite a large caseload. So my caseload was to be twenty eight to twenty nine clients a week. And so my days look about, it’s about seven to nine clients a day. And however, yes, I do have a longer day. I actually also, that work life balance sort of thing comes into it. We work a four day week, so I work thirty eight hours in four days, big days. But yeah, we get an extra day off. So I think that was really supportive, that my boss allows me to ease into the job. Although yes, it does look like a really big caseload, through being real and authentic with her and saying, Hey, actually, this is, you know, I’m struggling with whatever area it is, she’s taken the time and and she has the capacity to take the time to sit with me and work through it. And I think that was really, really supportive in being in a private practice. I didn’t initially know what I was sort of getting into in terms of a private practice before I started doing a little bit more research before applying. I think, yeah, I would say bigger organisations – there’s lots of pros to them, but I think with having a one on one conversation in an office with your boss saying, Hey, look, this is what’s happening for me. That sort of suited me best because that’s how I’ve always been, coming from the small country town am. I’m a face to face person and that works really well for me. I mean, other people it may be, you know, I just don’t work to be a number in a system, in a sense.

Clare Jones Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And were billable hours discussed in interview?

Mia Pearn They were, yeah. So everything was really laid out and honest, which was really, really helpful. And I think I also really pressed knowing certain information just because, to be honest with you, the whole application, that was the first job I applied for. I applied on a Sunday afternoon. I’d just finished. I felt a little bit behind. I’d had some family circumstances at the end of last year that sort of put me back in my studies, and I really needed to take some more time just to process what was happening for me. So I think I felt a little bit behind in the application process. All my friends had applied for jobs and were having interviews and we’re all really busy with our final assessments anyway, you know worth 50 percent and things like that, where you’re trying to do the best, you can just, just push that last little bit. So I applied Sunday and my boss emailed me two hours later and I was like, Hang on, what’s happening? And then it just progressed. I had an interview in four days and then she’s like, all right, let’s get you up here. What does it take? Flights were booked in another two days and then in seven days I was in Sydney and I was like, hang on, I just need a second to process what’s happening! So yeah, it was really quick and I wasn’t sure what was happening. I remember I called Danielle saying, Does this happen? Like, I don’t know, and I guess just being a little bit naive to that side of things. And I just sort of thought this is more a business side of things than an OT, I didn’t understand.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, you know, sorry to interrupt, but I do think, Mia, we’re finding it more and more, we’ve been in health recruitment for a long time, but more and more graduate OTs, speechies and physios in particular are in such high demand that future employers move so quickly when they’re interested in you. And we are finding that grads, I don’t think they don’t know their value, but I think it is easy… We’re seeing graduates get a little bit frightened by how quickly an offer might move, for example. So I think your experience definitely wasn’t, isn’t different to many grads, but it’s a lot of the time we to you know, we said a graduate, if you’re applying for this role, it will move more quickly than you probably think it will because your skill set is in such high demand.

Mia Pearn Yeah, and that was the thing. I guess also that you were touching base with your friends, but because I wasn’t seeing them in person and on a day to day basis, it didn’t really feel real and you couldn’t really check in the way that you usually would in your life? And yeah, it did progress really quickly. And I think that, yeah, the first time doing something, you don’t know sort of what to expect. And yeah, as you said, undervalue like, I’m just a new grad, I’m the same as any other OT student in my cohort. What’s you know, what’s, what’s it about? But then actually, and still, I think I have that imposter syndrome because I continually ask my boss from time to time, Hey, but she’s like, Well, we chose you for you. And I think that’s the really awesome thing about this organisation is that my boss is really real with me. I’ve, from the beginning, I was really honest and I said, Look, I actually need some time to process this offer because at that time, yeah, I was processing my family situation and I couldn’t make a move. I was actually needing to start the job on the 11th of November last year, and I was like, it’s not going to happen for me.

Danielle Weedon That’s right Mia. And you were waiting to get all your belongings from Victoria because the border was shut, I think or something?

Mia Pearn Yes, so my –

Danielle Weedon You’ve got family here here in Geelong or Melbourne. And yeah, you’re like, I’ve got so much to manage in this move to Sydney..

Mia Pearn Yeah, so my body was in country New South Wales, but my entire life was in lockdown in Melbourne. So there was not a chance that I could actually move to Sydney in November. Like that job actually was there, and they were willing to wait until so, it was actually the first week of January and then I had some more family circumstances, and so I actually started on the 18th of January. So they waited and that in itself was huge for me. I said if an organisation and a person is willing to do that for somebody, that’s where I want to work. That’s the kind of team that I want to be in.

Clare Jones We often see, Mia, therapists freeze at the point the recruitment process where an offer is put on the table and they actually do need more time to process the offer and take time to consider the offer and then make a decision. And it’s a really good point that you make; being honest and transparent with your potential employer, it demonstrates a really good quality in any future employee, but it’s okay to ask for more time to consider the offer. The worst case scenario is that the employer is going to say, no, I need an answer really quickly. But in every case that I’ve dealt with is employers are so open to giving you a week or two to consider the offer. They would like you to consider the offer. It shows that you’re taking this, it’s a very big decision for you. It shows that you are committed to your next career move. Whether it’s your first career move or not. So don’t be… My messaging is don’t be afraid to to ask for more time to sit with an offer to make sure that you’re making the right decision for you.

Mia Pearn Yeah, definitely. And I think what came into play a lot was that it wasn’t just the job, like I was moving eight and a half hours. So it’s the whole, whole aspect. And that’s the biggest thing too with this organisation is that I’m not just an OT. I’m a person in their team and I’m Mia from the outside world as well. And and that’s what makes me the clinician that I am in their organisation. So I think that’s that holistic OT approach. You know, our whole life experience, then all of that makes us what we are. Yeah, I think that was really important. Yeah. And, and I think with my friends and you know, you sort of you did, you felt a little bit rushed. Everybody’s getting these job offers or they’re going to interviews. And I’d never interviewed before and I’m thinking, Oh, what have I got to say? And will they ask me about a specific case load or will they want to know, is that it’s like an exam, I guess, you know, what are they going to need to know? But just being, yeah, being honest from day dot that I did say I was like, I’ve got a lot of things to consider at the moment. I am going to move and I have to weigh those sort of things up. I also am, half of me is stuck in in Melbourne at the moment, so that’s a big thing. I had the family issues as well, and then I was also wrapping up uni. So I, because of what had happened, I actually needed to get a few extensions and things like that. So my uni actually, like my assignments, weren’t finished until November anyway, even though a lot of my cohort had finished. So I needed to, yeah, and I wanted to be clear that I really wanted to do as best I could in those assignments. I didn’t want to just finish and be done because COVID was, you know, a tricky year to be finishing our degrees anyway. I just wanted to finish everything on a good note and then also by finishing it on a good note, I could then start afresh and feel confident in how I started the career.

Clare Jones I think it’s also important, Mia, to acknowledge the fact that employers are well aware when they’re interviewing new graduates that it is most likely their first interview for a professional role that the therapist has undertaken. So again, just be kind to yourself. You don’t…there’s no expectation that you’re going to absolutely, you know, perform beyond belief in this interview. Everyone understands that it’s a really, it can be really nerve wracking. And just remember that that is the expectation that you haven’t interviewed a lot. So just be kind to yourself and just be yourself in interview as well.

Mia Pearn Yeah. And that definitely came through in the interviews. I remember coming out of the interview thinking, I don’t think I can take this role. And that was actually, I remember saying to Danielle, like, I was calling Danielle constantly and it was a little bit funny in that MediRecruit hadn’t actually found me the job or advertised the job or anything, but I just connected really, really well with Danielle and and trusted her professional opinion and also understood that we could relate. So that was really, really supportive, especially when I kept emphasising how isolated I did feel. And you know, I was contacting my university lecturers, but I just didn’t feel that it was as helpful, I guess, with the insight you guys have into the job seeking and also just the whole process. Working with new grads all the time and and also having an understanding of places other than just Melbourne and Sydney and other areas too, and and what you can sort of expect from one place and whether it sounds real and realistic and pay scales and things like that. Although I did say that the pay wasn’t an issue for me, just, yeah, getting a better understanding. And I think that’s all added tools to my toolbox for the future too.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, yeah, I agree. Can I ask you a really practical question? When you… How long did your AHPRA registration take to come through?

Mia Pearn So that was another thing that I was a little bit stressed about, because a lot of people think… I was juggling the uni assignments while everybody had already wrapped up. So I was a little bit worried about how long that sort of took. Mine was quite quick. I think it maybe was two weeks and they did say I was going to be a long time because of COVID, but it actually ended up being quite quick. I do remember being told to apply, but I feel like there’s only a certain extent you can, like a certain amount that you can do and then you’re waiting for your documents to be certified and things like that. So I tried to get my side of things all organised as quickly as I could. And then, yeah, it’s just that waiting process. But I think start that as soon as you can if you’ve got everything that you need to start that with. But I found that sort of stuff actually quite smooth sailing once it was explained to us. I guess it’s different in the setting of being online, too, that you’ve logged off now and your lecturer is gone, whereas, you know, sometimes you can flag them after the class and ask those quick questions.

Danielle Weedon Questions. Yeah.

Mia Pearn But yeah, just not being afraid, I guess not being afraid to email, just constantly email. Like I used to say, just another email like, sorry, sorry, this is annoying, but it’s not in in the world that we were living in at that time. You just need to. Otherwise, you won’t get those questions answered, and it’s the same in the work force. Like, I’m constantly emailing my boss about different things and it’s like, Well, you know what? She’s like be kind. You’re not expected to know this. How are you going to know this if you’ve never done it before? It’s all new, so just, yeah, just take your time to…

Danielle Weedon Ask the questions.

Mia Pearn Ask the questions and give it a go. And if it doesn’t work cool, then try, try, try again. Yeah, that’s the only way we’re going to learn.

Danielle Weedon And what about, have you got like a most – it’s a bit corny – but have you got a most memorable moment in, since you graduated, or if you got a funny story or a positive, like, what sort of memorable moment would you say you’ve had?

Mia Pearn In terms of working life? Or I feel like it’s all, it’s all been a lot to remember. Yeah, it really is. And I actually, to think back to how how I was when I was having the conversations with you on the phone, it felt like I was calling you every day because, yeah, it was one of the only human interactions I had at that time I guess other than family, which was awesome. It was incredible to spend the year living back at home. But I just think, yeah, so much has changed. A lot has changed. And I mean, yeah, working. To think that I’m an OT doesn’t feel real still. I’m like, Oh yeah, I’m not a uni student, no, like a caseload and things like that. It’s really cool that I also feel just the same as Mia from Deakin last year. Yeah, lots of memorable moments. I mean, there’s lots of beautiful, beautiful kids that I work with. And yes, you know, I guess it’s just really, really cool. Working as a paeds OT. Like yesterday was pretty memorable too, in that I got to spend five hours at a park. One of the kids bought his skateboard and the whole session was watching him do cool tricks on the skateboard. And how that can, you know, that sort of movement that he’s doing can cause neurological changes to him. So he’s yeah, having some struggles with COVID and some, yeah, some difficulties in that sense. And then you’ve got like, we dressed up last Friday because we’re all wearing masks and our kiddies want to see our face. And it’s really tricky at this time when you come into the clinic and everybody’s masked up and you don’t get to see the emotion as much. Yeah, you can smile with your eyes but they want to see a smile, or they want to see a laugh, or they want some more expression, I guess. And so we all put some costumes on and made a bit of a video. And just to bring that personality back, I guess. I got a new mask is always wearing the medical mask just so that it’s to standard, I guess, and bought some new masks, so I got some rainbow masks. And yeah, try to, try to bring that personality and bit of flair back into the clinic, I guess.

Danielle Weedon Yeah. Yeah. Have you got any other questions, Clare?

Clare Jones No, you’re an inspiring OT Mia, you are, you are. You’re an advocate for the profession, you really are. Well done.

Mia Pearn Thank you.

Danielle Weedon I would say well done too and yeah, thanks for taking the time. It’s always good to chat. I feel like I could chat to you always Mia.

Mia Pearn We’ve spoken a lot, so yeah! And I’m really, really grateful for all the help, both from Danielle and Clare. It was really, really supportive in the times that I was living in last year, and even now, it’s awesome to have these contacts. Like I remember being at uni and everyone saying, Oh, join LinkedIn and I’m thinking, Oh, what is LinkedIn? Like I don’t know this sort of world. It’s another Facebook, but it’s for professionals. What does that sort of mean? Like do I have to keep on top of that sort of thing? And then I remember being in the Q & A and I was like, Oh, join us on LinkedIn and I’m like, OK, I’ve got one contact on LinkedIn. So like, this is cool, this is exciting. But yeah, just and knowing that I’ve kind of got you guys as a bit of a contact throughout my career future is is really nice, and that we can connect on such a personal level too, rather than it just being so yeah, I guess career or work focussed. It’s just person to person. And that’s sort of how I operate. Yeah.

Clare Jones Fantastic, thank you Mia.

Mia Pearn Thank you so much, ladies. Lovely to talk to you.

Clare Jones Thanks for your time. Enjoy the rest of your day, go and get some sunshine and see the beach.

Mia Pearn Yes, you guys take care.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, you too. Bye bye.

Speaker We hope you enjoyed listening to the Allied Health Podcast. In the show’s notes, you’ll find links to our free recruitment resources, job opportunities and health care marketplace insights. To listen to new episodes, please subscribe via Apple, Google, or wherever you find your favourite podcasts. And if you’ve enjoyed the show, please give it a five star rating and review. And be sure to tell your therapy colleagues and friends to tune in.