My Story: how I found the career of my dreams in Aged Care.
By Tiffany Goodall
Living the dream!
It was happening! I couldn’t believe I was accepted into my Masters of Physiotherapy and could finally fulfil my dream of becoming the Sports Physio for the Australian Cricket Team.
Although I enjoyed my hospital placements at Uni, I knew a hospital career wasn’t for me. Working in Aged Care did not cross my mind once. It was private practice, do my Sports Masters and achieve my dream.
I got a job in private practice and was well supported in my new grad role. At first, I enjoyed the challenge of treating patients with different injuries and pain, and learning about Pilates and taking classes. I learned how to be on time and efficient and build relationships with my clients. I loved the team I worked with and made many friends who I still keep in contact with today.
But after a few years, I began to question if this was really what I wanted. The cons started to outweigh the pros. I found the client base to be repetitive (low backs & necks), clients were always looking for a ‘quick fix’, and most importantly to me, the late nights and weekend work was beginning to drag me down. There was immense pressure to ‘keep clients coming back’, sell products, and constant analysis of billing and retention rates. I felt like a salesperson not a physio. I never had time to have a proper lunch break. I thought- did I study all those years and work so hard- for this? I was actually at the point of looking into going back to Uni to do a different career (radiology or optometry!) because I was so unhappy.
It was my husband who suggested that I try Aged Care. “Give it a go for 6 months, and if you’re still unhappy, look at doing something else” he said, not wanting me to give up on something I had studied all those years for. To me, it was a huge step in a completely different direction and to be honest, I was saddened and disappointed. I was nervous and so confused as to what I wanted. I thought to myself, what’s the worst that could happen? I try something I hadn’t thought I would enjoy… I would at least be closer to finding what I didn’t want and importantly, I would be closer to finding what I did want.
And so, I started my career with Revita (now HCA Allied Health). I was well supported in my transition and received fantastic mentoring. I didn’t know how to speak to the elderly or anything about ACFI, but I did know how to build relationships with people and work as part of a team. I was eager to learn and absorbed everything I could about Residential Aged Care, ACFI and clinical knowledge. I had professional development opportunities and always had a mentor I could call on with any questions which made me felt more comfortable in my transition. And I could sit down and actually enjoy my lunch!
Here and now…
Over 5 years ago I started with HCA Allied Health and I haven’t looked back. What I discovered was a career in which I found happiness and work/life balance. I could finish work at 4.30pm, only work a weekend if I wanted to, and flexibility! Most importantly, I discovered a love for the elderly I didn’t know I had. It is an opportunity to advocate for people in our community who couldn’t advocate for themselves and to make a positive different to their lives. I love being a part of a multidisciplinary team and having valuable input to people’s care. I’ve had the opportunity to travel interstate for work and complete professional development courses of interest. For me, it is so much more satisfying helping someone return to walking post hip fracture, than treating a footballer with a hamstring tear. Who would’ve thought?!
HCA Allied Health has been extremely supportive in my career progression. In recent years I’ve loved educating our new grads and imparting my knowledge and enthusiasm onto them. It was with this tight-knit team that I had progressed into management, meaning I had constant learning opportunities and space with my mentors to guide me through these challenges. I’ve loved being a part of what was once a small Victorian business, transitioning into a big national business.
My latest challenge has been becoming a mother to my beautiful baby boy Jordy- HCA Allied have been so supportive throughout my pregnancy, maternity leave and my eventual return to work. I am so grateful for the flexibility and understanding in trying to juggle being a mum and continuing my career.
My advice to any physios out there, no matter where you are in your career.
- If you’re not happy where you are- don’t be afraid to make a change. We are so fortunate to work in a profession where we have options for where we can work.
- Work out what is important to you and find a career that fulfils that. Whether it is career progression, supportive environment, work/life balance or financial stability.
- If you don’t end up where you thought you would- that’s ok!
- Give Aged Care a go- you may be pleasantly surprised 😊
If you’re currently working as a physiotherapist and looking for a change of scenery, give us a call! Our team of highly trained recruiters have roles available across the country, in full time, part time, casual or locum capacities to fit in with your life.