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Murdoch welcomes first occupational therapy student

26 October 2023

Your private health care Meet our caregivers Rehabilitation
The St John of God Murdoch Hospital Allied Health team are excited to introduce you to Sophia Zilli, the final-year Curtin University occupational therapy (OT) student who is the first OT student to have her eight-week placement at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sophia to delve into her aspirations, experiences, and the unique perspective she brings to the field of occupational therapy.

Sophia embarked on her journey into occupational therapy after meeting an OT in the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Her seven-year educational journey—from a degree in Psychology to a Master of Occupational Therapy—has been a quest to merge her interests in psychology and human anatomy.

What drew her to OT was its holistic approach, viewing individuals not through a deficit lens, but as unique beings with strengths to be harnessed. Sophia aspires to dedicate her life to helping people, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives by focusing on what they want to achieve within the parameters of their capacity.

Sophia’s passion lies in neurorehabilitation, relishing the challenges of a hospital setting with diverse clinical presentations. At this stage, she embraces the versatility of occupational therapy, considering the profession as a ‘Jack of all trades.’ She aims to accumulate more experience before honing in on a specific specialisation, acknowledging the vast potential for professional growth.

In her time at St John of God Murdoch Hopsital, Sophia has been embraced by the Allied Health team.

“I’ve felt welcomed and supported throughout these first few weeks and anticipate that that will only continue throughout the rest of my time here,” she said.

“I’ve had the luxury of having some very knowledgeable and experienced occupational therapists to learn from, which has really fast-tracked my learning experience so far.

“The team here has shown me what clinical excellence means; their dedication to their patients and professional behaviour is aspirational.”

Sophia reflects on the profound impact of her practical placement experiences, highlighting the importance of patient advocacy.

“As health professionals, we often work in multidisciplinary teams; where communication is paramount to the quality of care delivered,” she said.

“Observing my supervisors advocate for patient and client wellbeing, choice and safety has really brought home how, sometimes, as health professionals we can act as a voice for the people who otherwise wouldn’t have one within the health professional team environment.

“It really demonstrated that the patient should always be at the centre of any care delivered.”

Sophia Zilli is a testament to Occupational Therapy’s bright future, breaking new ground at St John of God Murdoch Hospital. Her passion, dedication, and commitment to holistic care are sure to leave a mark on the profession. We look forward to following Sophia’s journey as she pioneers a path of excellence in occupational therapy.

Headshot of occupational therapist Ronelle Bosua
Ronelle Bosua - Senior Occupational Therapist

Ronelle is a Senior Occupational Therapist who completed her undergraduate degree at La Trobe University Victoria in 2009. She has extensive experience as a hospital occupational therapist in both acute and subacute care. 

She completed a rotational program at The Royal Melbourne Hospital prior to commencing as a Senior Occupational Therapist at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. Following a move to Perth, she worked as a contractor for Maximum Independence Occupational Therapy, servicing the clinical needs of St John of God Murdoch Hospital. From there, she moved to The Mount Hospital before returning to St John of God Murdoch Hospital to help establish and run the new Occupational Therapy Department, which commenced in January 2022. 

She has completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation specialising in Occupational Therapy, and has a keen interest in change management, quality improvement, driving cultural engagement, and training and education.

Headshot of occupational therapist Ronelle Bosua
Ronelle Bosua Senior Occupational Therapist