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Meet Charlotte Ganderton


For some unknown reason I have been asked to contribute to this blog as a professional physiotherapist. My name is Charlotte; I am 23 and have recently finished University. I am now in my first professional role at Peninsula Health. Throughout the next year I will be sharing my journey with you. Here is my first post:

What child would even know what a Physiotherapist is, let alone know that’s what they wanted to do as a career? As strange as it may sound I have wanted to be a physio for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing tennis and must admit I have been to the physio myself quite a few times!

Even though I have always wanted to be a physio I mulled over the idea of undertaking a number of different degrees throughout my school years. I even enrolled in a Commerce/Economics degree, thinking I wouldn’t receive the score required for Physiotherapy. Although I realised very quickly it wasn’t the degree for me, I don’t regret the experience, or the debt I accumulated! No matter the situation, you can always learn something from an undesirable experience – in my case; it reinforced how much I wanted to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

In 2007, I threw myself into a physiotherapy degree at La Trobe University. I was in my element. In life, you only get out what you put in. I have always been a big believer in getting involved and taking every opportunity to improve myself both personally and professionally. With that, I joined the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s (APA) Victorian Student Committee and took on the roles of APA National Student Network chair and also the Victorian Student Committee chair in my final year (2012). It is amazing how much you learn by simply having a go and joining in.

Then, another opportunity arose – Honours. To do or not to do? With an already huge list of commitments (final year, two voluntary roles with the APA and three part-time jobs), I figured taking on yet another commitment was perhaps a tad crazy, but one I was willing to try. I will never forget the words in our first honours class: “If you don’t have a specific interest in research and you are only here to receive the higher degree, you probably shouldn’t be here.” At that point I wanted to bury my head in the sand and pretend I had never heard it. Although I wanted the challenge, that description was quite possibly me.

Looking back on my honours year, I absolutely loved the experience, so much so that I plan to continue research throughout my career. Had I run away from the opportunity to complete honours, I would have missed out on one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life.

I never planned on entering the public sector at the completion of my course – I only had eyes for private practice. However, this soon changed. It was the day my cardio-respiratory supervisor, to whom I related to extremely well, spoke to me about the importance of consolidating all skills prior to deciding where to direct my career. I took her advice on board and began to investigate the pros and cons of each career path – something that I would advise every physiotherapy student to do. It is a very individual decision and as I had enjoyed all aspects of physiotherapy throughout my course I decided that the public health system was the best option.

Stay tuned to hear the next part in my journey… I will be posting once a month or so… Please feel free to ask questions or share your own experiences.

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