'The social work role to assist others is ever-changing...'
Social Worker, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch Hospital
Work in the surgical ward at Christchurch Hospital keeps Rachel busy supporting clients towards recovery.
‘Every day varies hugely,’ she says. ‘Much of my role is working with the Multi-Disciplinary Team (doctors, nurses, physios, occupational therapists, speech language therapists, etc) to coordinate the best treatment possible for our patients.’
Having the ability to directly impact on a person’s life in such a positive way has been a highly rewarding and enjoyable experience for Rachel.
‘Even if you are working with a person who has the same injury as another patient, their needs and therefore the social work role to assist them is ever-changing. There is always so many different ways you can approach a situation,’ she says.
‘The more of life you have experienced, the more context you have to apply to working with others. I like how so much of the role is yourself and the way you apply yourself to the situation.’
Rachel was first motivated to study and head into a Social Work career with her father already in the industry, and after the loss of her older brother a few years ago from a brain tumour. In 2015 Rachel was the President of CanTeen NZ supporting teenagers living with cancer.
‘I think this life experience lead me to Social Work as I wanted to use my experience to support other young people facing adversity and oppression,’ she says. ‘I have always liked people and been passionate about making a difference and helping people.’
UC’s reputation in Social Work was one reason that drew her to study here, and she was proud to receive the Fiona Leeves Memorial Prize for her studies, recognising her contribution and leadership in the programme. ‘The lecturers are amazing, so approachable. It was really great to get to know them so well,’ she says.
She also thoroughly enjoyed using the RecCentre on campus (‘the gym is free, which was awesome!’) and the student clubs available.
‘The UCSA put on some incredible events and there are so many amazing clubs to join and try. I tried Rowing (UCRC) for my first and second year and that was really cool. University Games are heaps of fun! I would definitely recommend people get involved!’
Rachel has big plans for her ongoing career, hoping to one day head overseas and continue helping others in need.
‘I would like to utilise my Social Work training and my interest in governance to be a director on a board,’ she says. ‘Another dream of mine is to be the CEO of a not-for-profit or charitable organisation one day.’