In the early days of her career, Jodie started out as a Physical Education teacher helping children become active and confident individuals.
Working with therapists and attending support group meetings within the school setting, Jodie observed the impact of having a network of support to achieve goals. After twelve years of working in schools, Jodie went on to study Physiotherapy and commenced her private practice after graduating. It was at this juncture that Windermere’s Allied Health Graduate program caught her attention.
“I felt it would be a valuable opportunity to work in a team with a diverse skillset and broaden my own expertise. It was a key worker role as well, requiring more than physiotherapy-related skills. This was why I was keen to work at Windermere.”
Jodie came on board at the start of 2021 and while she brought with her an educational background, the Allied Health Graduate program called on a range of different skills. Being within the Early Intervention and Therapy Services (EITS) team she could access the expertise of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, other physiotherapists, dietitians and psychologists.
With 20 Allied Health professionals available to help upskill, Jodie was able to support children with their communication goals, fine motor goals, and behaviour support as needed to give the best service and care for a family.
“As a key worker, I was able to form a really strong connection with a family and become an asset to them as well as a strong advocate for the child.”
When the opportunity to work as a team leader opened up in 2022, Jodie didn’t hesitate. The strength of the team motivated her to apply.
As a team leader, Jodie works with the wider team in a different capacity with the ultimate goal of producing the best outcomes for children and their families. She problem-solves across the team, supports and advocates for team members, and ensures appropriate supports are in place when preparing for NDIS plan reassessments.
Jodie has come full circle over a span of two years, progressing from an Allied Health Graduate to filling the role of teaching Windermere’s new Allied Health graduates.
“I can relate to them as I know it can be quite overwhelming to learn skills outside your discipline area. For instance, preparing a child for transitions or toilet training was completely outside my capabilities as a physiotherapist, and I learnt these aspects from early childhood education specialists,” she explains.
The Allied Health Graduate Program fosters this culture of learning through workshops, monthly graduate meetings, mentoring sessions and shadowing opportunities.
This environment conducive to learning and development means that it’s a continual process for Jodie, even as Team Leader.
“We have new staff coming on board with fresh ideas, as well as graduates straight out of university who have the most up-to-date knowledge around evidence-based best practices. It’s always a two-way learning opportunity.”
This learning-based environment not only ensures the best quality care for families, it also makes working enjoyable.
“This is crucial to retaining staff and Windermere does that very well.”
This year, the learning modules of the Allied Health Graduate program opened up to all EITS practitioners to provide opportunities for upskilling and professional development and prepare new staff for their key worker roles.
“It’s a great way for Windermere staff to continually upskill and consolidate best practices. There’s an ongoing review of the program as well on how we can make it better for everyone involved.”
While Jodie enjoys her role as team lead and being part of a passionate team who works towards the best outcomes for families, she is eager to continue the one-to-one interactions with them.
“I think it’s important to maintain that contact with children and families. Developing strategies that help, and seeing a child achieve a goal is very rewarding.”
In providing support to families, Jodie recognises the benefit of having access to support outside of EITS when dealing with complex requirements such as the risk of homelessness or family violence.
“When you have a good rapport with families, they are likely to disclose other issues they are facing and it’s wonderful to be able to offer support right across the board. That’s why I am passionate about working at Windermere.”
As Jodie looks back on her early days at Windermere she is grateful for all the support she’s received.
When she’s not leading a dynamic team and helping families live better lives, Jodie is immersed in all things sports.
“I absolutely love playing sports and can even get a little competitive! You’ll also find me cheering on the Demons in the AFL.” Jodie is also in the process of training her dog Milo, a Labrador cross, to become a therapy dog. “I hope that I can bring her to Windermere someday as a therapy dog, but there’s a lot more work to do,” she adds.
For more information on the Allied Health Graduate program visit here. To find out more about our Early Intervention Therapy services visit here or call the team on 1300 946 337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.