Luke Robinson

Luke Robinson

Luke Robinson

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: PhD
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)/ PhD

Luke_PhD-graduation“In 2005, my final year of high school, I was a passenger in a high-speed motor accident. I sustained multiple injuries, including a moderate brain injury and severe nerve damage in my right arm, which has resulted in long-term disability and required long-term rehabilitation. I have no memory of an entire three-month period.

I was unable to complete my high school studies that year due to the significance of my injuries and instead focused on rehabilitation. During this time, I was fortunate to work with many health professionals including doctors, physiotherapists, social workers, speech pathologists, psychologists, dietitians and of course, occupational therapists. While each health professional helped in their own way, it was occupational therapy that really captured my attention.

During my rehabilitation it was the OT that helped me plan my return to school, get my driver’s licence, re-learn how to play the guitar, build the strength and skills to return to surfing (albeit it one-handed). They really focused on helping me return to the things that were meaningful to me – an eighteen-year-old who wanted to do things that an eighteen-year-old does.

This client-centred approach, that focuses on the individual needs of the clients to be able to do what is meaningful to them in that specific part of their lives, is what really inspires me to be an occupational therapist. It is this exciting prospect, among others, that I try to share with my students as a lecturer at Monash all these years later.

Inspired by the OTs I worked with during that first year of rehabilitation, I focused on getting the marks required when I returned to school. In 2006, I returned to school – with the ongoing support of my OTs while I still completed rehabilitation. I achieved an ATAR of 91 which allowed me to enrol in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at Monash University and I completed the course in 2010.

As part of my undergraduate studies, I completed an Honours thesis that researched carpal tunnel surgical and rehabilitation techniques, which ignited my passion in providing hand therapy to clients and in conducting research.

As a new graduate, I secured a Grade 1 rotational position at what is now Monash Health, where I was able to apply my clinical skills in the areas of orthopaedics, trauma, general medicine, neurology, and rehabilitation at both Dandenong and Casey Hospitals.

I then commenced a position at Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) in the hand therapy department, conducting upper limb assessments and providing interventions to clients with a range of injuries and conditions.

As RMH is a large trauma hospital, I worked with many clients who had sustained considerable injuries and provided them with occupational therapy services that focused on protecting structures – such as making splints and orthoses – in the hand, wrist, and arm to allow their injuries to heal. I also gave clients exercises to regain their movement and strength, in addition to discussing strategies to be able to complete meaningful and important activities during their recovery.

In 2015, I commenced work as a teaching associate in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Monash University while completing my PhD and still working as a locum OT at Eastern Health. My Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)-supported doctoral work, conferred in 2020, examined the individual, community and societal burden of acute hand and wrist injuries.

I commenced my position as a lecturer within the department in 2017.

I am currently the first-year undergraduate coordinator. I teach first-year and fourth-year students in the undergraduate program, as well as first and second-year students in the Master of Occupational Therapy Practice. I am also the deputy head of Aquilia College (the Peninsula campus’ non-residential college). My current research focuses on hand therapy intervention and assessment, health economics, and occupational therapy education.

I have very fond memories of studying at Monash OT, both as an undergraduate and then again as a postgraduate student. As an undergraduate, I loved the learning culture, which stems from experienced and passionate educators who have a diverse array of clinical experience. This lived experience of working in the industry allows educators to draw on real life examples to help illustrate real world problems that students will encounter on the clinical fieldwork placements or in their future careers.

I really enjoyed the hands-on practical sessions, learning about the role of occupational therapy through scenario-based learning, completing my clinical fieldwork placements (a highlight was a placement in Bangladesh) and completing my Honours research project. I think what really stood out to me during my studies at Monash University were the opportunities and the quality of the education that prepared me to enter the industry as a new graduate.

Returning as a staff member, I feel as though I have come home. I have been associated with Monash University as a student and educator for eleven years. As an educator, I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with the new cohorts of future OTs. I love inspiring students Luke-teachingto be active learners, helping them to thrive in their studies and preparing them to enter our amazing profession.

This learning culture extends beyond the educators. In my experience, the cohorts of OT students who study at Monash University are driven, supportive, and form strong bonds and long-lasting friendships. The Monash University OT program feels more like a community than just a learning activity.

My best piece of professional advice is this: ‘Your career is not a sprint, but a marathon. The destination of the finish line can change as new opportunities arise. Don’t be scared to change the path of your “race”, try new things, and embrace each learning opportunity.’

My personal motto is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

I was fortunate to be in one of the early cohorts who completed the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Monash University. I’m happy to observe that the course has continued to evolve just as the healthcare sector has, for example with the advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and increased opportunities in the private sector and to build your own business.

Our department is dedicated to ensuring quality and relevant learning opportunities and that is a testament to the hard work of the amazing team of educators and students.

In the next 15 years I would love to see the program continue to grow. Our graduates are highly respected and sought after in the industry and I would like to see this trend continue. I would love to see a student-led clinical hub developed on campus where students can complete clinical fieldwork, partner with consumers, and conduct research projects. I would also like to see students returning to complete postgraduate studies and even consider coming back and teaching in the department (like I did).

The Monash course is still relatively young, but extremely research-active, and has already overtaken many of the established courses in terms of research output. I would love to see this trend continue with staff and student projects being published and contributing to the occupational therapy evidence base.

While I would love to see all these things happen, what I want most is for the sense of community and passion to stay within the department, for both students and educators alike.”