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The desire to become more specialised in her field led Social Worker Katherine Eden to further her higher education through HETI. Since then she’s not looked back, and her future is equally flexible, meaningful and positive.
My story starts when I was working in child protection. I’d spent a long period in this sector as a social worker and while I enjoyed it, I was ready for a change. Then, three years ago, I found my ‘dream job’ working in the perinatal and infant mental health field and HETI was a new discovery for me not long after I started. I have since discovered that HETI is an invaluable resource for clinicians.
I remember two colleagues recommended the HETI Higher Education course since they knew I wanted to become more specialised in this field. As soon as I read the course description I felt that it was exactly the learning space that I needed. I’d taken a break from study and I was ready to study again, even though I had young children and didn’t want to overcommit. The tipping point came when I saw the CYMHS scholarship was available. When I got the scholarship, it made me feel like my study was supported and valued by NSW Health, and it made the thought of study a reality for me. This was the motivation I needed to get back to the books.
These days I absolutely love my job working with families to explore the issues that may impact on their parenting, such as adjustment to parenting and feelings of depression and anxiety. I remember applying the course content at work right from the first day of study, which took me by surprise.
I could immediately see that I was applying a lot more ‘theory’ to my role at work, which was promising. It gave me the continued motivation to stay on track. It also opened up my eyes to the mental health system, which I had limited contact with up until then. This means I have been able to share my knowledge with my colleagues and we have shared many ‘a-ha’ moments together during these times. I know that my learning through HETI Higher Education is deeply practical as I often find myself sharing it with my colleagues to help them understand certain concepts or scenarios.
Before starting the course, I wasn’t sure how the online learning experience would translate for me. The course was always designed to be taught online, but I began my studies exactly when COVID arrived on our shores so it was just as well! I needn’t have worried about the technology as the online learning platform was so easy to navigate and the course material was really easy to access. This took me by surprise, and I enjoyed the fact I could still remain connected to my lecturers and other students despite being online. In fact, I felt that despite the timing of COVID my study was not impacted at all by the outside world, as long as I had my laptop in front of me.
On a more practical note, I like how the course is staged and that you get a course qualification at the end of each completed year. I was able to get a certificate qualification at the end of my first year, which I am very proud of. I feel confident that I can return to the course when my kids are older, when I can complete the Diploma level and then maybe even the Master's level. This is exciting to me and I feel like I am making real progress over the years ahead. The course content itself is relevant and whilst appropriately challenging, I have never felt out of my depth. I’d sum up the course as challenging but inspiring. The peer support has also helped me along the way and the support from peers and lecturers online always made me feel like I had a community of people I could touch base with if I needed extra help or clarification.
I would say that the course teachings have definitely shaped me as a professional. It has given me a sense of how important the work is that I do. I would say that this course has validated my belief that the work we do in my sector is very hard and challenging, and it requires a special workforce to undertake it.