Curtin Alumni: Meet Helen Ryan, Speech Pathologist

February 22, 2014 by Curtin CEL Team

Curtin Alumni: Meet Helen Ryan, Speech Pathologist

When I was in year 12 I had NO idea what I wanted to study. I had a pretty strict criteria for what I wanted from a job such as: Monday to Friday work hours, I wanted to help people, I wanted to work in a team and I favoured the health field but I knew I couldn’t handle the blood, needles and other ‘gory bits’ seen by other health professionals. My neighbour suggested Speech Pathology and four years later I completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Science (Speech Pathology) at Curtin University. I have never looked back. I have been very lucky to have had such a diverse and exciting career.

What are your career highlights?

  • Working as a generalist speech pathologist in Broome and providing services to remote Aboriginal communities.
  • Completing overseas volunteer work as a speech pathologist in rural India.

What skills and attributes assisted in your employability as a new graduate?

Flexibility, adaptability, confidence, can-do attitude and never being afraid to ask for help and support when I needed it!

What did you learn in the workplace that you did not learn at uni?

How to work within a team of professionals and how to have your clinical opinion ‘heard’ and voiced when you are in an environment of very experienced clinicians. As well as really simple things such as being comfortable in making phone calls to families.

What was your defining moment when you realised you were a professional?

A client’s parent said to me “When I first met you I thought you were really young and wondering what you could possibly do to help my son talk but everything you suggested and showed me really worked and now he is talking so much more!” That was the moment.

How do you define professionalism?

I define it as all of the unspoken behaviours that you expect from a professional when you are seeking their services. These range from simple things such as returning a phone call when you said you would to being able to seek support when you are faced with an ethical/moral dilemma.

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