A clear sighted career path
“I’ve always been interested in health and love the idea of working with and helping people,” says Heidi Rose Neilson, who graduated from the Graduate School of Health (GSH) with a Master of Orthoptics in 2018.
“I did my science-based undergrad degree at Newcastle Uni but a friend from high school went to UTS and raved about her experience so much, that when I saw the Master of Orthoptics on the UTS website I thought it would be a perfect fit,” she continues. “I’m very happy to say it was.”
Heidi says from first impressions right through the whole course she was impressed with the approach GSH and her lecturers took to teaching, learning and extra-curricular activities.
“On my first day there were peer networkers to help us mingle, meet people and make friends, and throughout the course my lecturers were always available, always saying, ‘Just come and talk to us if you need anything at all’.”
She says the range of experience and expertise they had was another big benefit. “If you couldn’t get a definitive answer from one teacher, they would actively seek out another teacher to help you find it out,” she continues.
Heidi also found her clinical placements to be great learning experiences, particularly her three-week placement at the Royal Darwin Hospital. “It was seriously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I really appreciated it,” she says.
“I helped assess a wide variety of patients including emergency cases, neurological disorders, paediatrics and lots of general ophthalmology. I also visited two rural Aboriginal communities by small plane to do screenings.”
One of the things GSH excels in, says Heidi, is promoting learning as a life-long journey, which has obvious importance in health. “I feel the skills I learnt have equipped me to follow any direction I decide to take my career in the future, whether it’s specialising in one area or even going into research,” she says.
“Equipment is constantly being updated and there is new research coming out all the time, so it is vital to keep on top of changes. Even now I’m getting emails from GSH inviting me to orthoptics events which I find very valuable.”
Heidi’s serendipitous run of ‘perfect fits’ has not stopped with the conclusion of her Masters. Immediately after completing the course she was snapped up by Cura Ophthalmology Specialists into a full-time majority-paediatric orthoptics role.
“I absolutely love my job!” she continues. “Paediatrics has always been a passion of mine, and it’s very rewarding to see the kids’ journey from when they first come into our clinic and start a management regime through to making a positive difference to their eye condition.”
Overall, Heidi feels a deep gratitude to GSH. “I was on a very different path before I did my Master of Orthoptics. It was a leap of faith but I’m so glad I did it and I couldn’t be happier right now.”
Learn more about the UTS Master of Orthoptics program.