Being closer to family, the lure of fresh air and the country lifestyle proved irresistible to Christie Verbeek 12 months ago. The tree change was fruitful in terms of both her career and personal life with her partner Tom who have since bought a property and are planning their wedding.
“Moving back to Bendigo has meant we’ve been able to achieve some of those bigger life milestones as well, there’s no way we would be able to make it all work there in the city,” she said.
Christie’s career as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in Melbourne for 10 years, led to a move into management and back to her original hometown of Bendigo. Here, Christie operationally manages four clinics at the outpatient rehabilitation service at Bendigo Health.
“Certainly as an OT I wouldn’t be coming across wounds and high risk foot complexities, and things like that, so managing these streams has certainly taught me a lot, and it’s been nice for me to grow a different skill set in taking that position too,” she said.
One of the projects Christie has been involved in since returning to Bendigo Health is working with the Bendigo Health Foundation and Fundraising team, clinicians and designers in developing two new all-abilities rehabilitation play spaces for children, as part of the redevelopment of the Clinical Services Campus.
“It’s really exciting, challenging and fun to be involved in ensuring we can make it enticing to children of the Bendigo region,” she said.
“It’s great for the kids and staff to have this playground so accessible because play is such an important part of the rehabilitation journey and we will hopefully get some really great outcomes for them.”
Initially Christie was apprehensive the transition from metro to country would stall her career progression but she’s had plenty of opportunities.
“I find developing some of the smaller clinics, and managing and getting to know the staff really rewarding,” she said.
“I enjoy that I can bring my clinical background as an OT but also actually develop the teams and be working one-on-one with the staff to have different outcomes, it’s what I’m most passionate about.”
Christie said Bendigo Health has really good programs to support career development. “There’s Business Leaders, and Meetings Management program opportunities to excel in your management skills while working in the role.
“There’s continued professional development training offered that is linked to OT which is my clinical background, but also linked to management so I can excel in the job I am already working. That mix is nice as well, because I still feel like an OT at heart,” she said.
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