Renee graduated with Bachelor of Applied Science (Diversional Therapy) in 2000 from the University of Western Sydney. This was only the second graduate year for the degree program at UWS. It was during her student years that Renee was introduced to the Diversional Therapy Association (previously DTANSW) by lecturer, now Doctor Margaret Skropeta where she has been an active member ever since.
Renee is the Senior Diversional Therapist at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney where she has worked for almost 10 years; her clinical specialty is brain injury rehabilitation. Like many DT’s she has worked as a sole practitioner her entire career which presents many challenges often not understood by our allied health peers.
The hospital environment is complex, fast paced and demanding. Renee’s role is to provide DT services to people aged 16-65years who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (i.e. motor vehicle accidents, assaults, falls, sporting accidents) and hypoxic brain injury (e.g. younger stroke survivors, cardiac arrest, near drowning, attempted suicide). Her clinical responsibilities are within the inpatient ward and community team conducting assessments, activity analysis and modification, developing goals, leisure education and therapeutic recreation programs for individuals and groups to promote skill development, assist with adjustment to disability and enhance community re-integration. This area of rehabilitation involves working with compensation systems as many of the clients have claims through CTP, workers compensation and Lifetime Care & Support Authority. A complex and niche environment for a Diversional Therapist as it requires sound articulation of therapeutic goals and interventions to address client functional impairments as they relate to participation along with comprehensive report writing. Other important duties include consulting to other health professionals and external services, providing training and support to attendant care workers, participating in CQI projects/research, providing clinical supervise to students and new graduates and developing new programs and resources. Prior to this position Renee worked in community and residential aged care for 6 years.
In 2002 Renee eagerly joined the management committee of DTANSW alongside many of her mentors. In 2003 she was elected into the position of Secretary which she held for 6 years, she then moved into the role of President until the winding up of the state associations in 2010. Over the years Renee has participated in many national conferences as convenor, committee member and presenter. When Diversional Therapy Australia was established in 2010 Renee was elected first President, a role that was challenging, exciting and one of learning and growth. Like her peers Renee is proud to act in a voluntary capacity with the association to progress its objectives into the future.
Also an active member of the Health Services Union NSW, Renee was instrumental in engaging with the HSU to represent Diversional Therapy alongside 20 allied health professions on the Awards Committee that developed the NSW Health Service Health Professionals (State) Award 2007. Following on from this lengthy commitment she continued advocating for her peers on many industrial issues as a representative on the DT Professional Vocation Committee and Professional Delegate Committee. Renee strongly encourages all members to engage with their respective unions and work on improving industrial awards and conditions across all state health and community sectors.
Suprisingly Renee still has time for her own leisure. She is motivated by having fun, the outdoors, meeting new people, escaping stress, keeping fit and trying new experiences. Her newest passion is Zumba which she attends 4 nights a week and is now an instructor, she loves photography, playing touch football, watching AFL and ice hockey, shopping, being with friends and family, and going to the movies.