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Diaries of A... Workplace Rehabilitation Consultant

People Stories 04 Mar 2022

Christy Ward is a Senior Workplace Rehabilitation Consultant on the Gold Coast.

Want to know what a Workplace Rehabilitation Consultant really does? Have a peak at their diary. We asked Christy Ward, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Senior Consultant from the KINNECT Gold Coast team to diarise her workweek for us. Spoiler alert. It’s busy!



Today is an early start. It’s 6:30 am, already hot and humid, and my working day has officially begun. I’m on an industrial estate on the Gold Coast to deliver Drug & Alcohol testing for a scaffolding company. These are random tests and we have to test a number of the workers before they are allowed on site to start for the day.

During the drive back to the office, it’s time to dial into our Monday morning meeting. We share our highlights from last week including stories, achievements, milestones and things we got up to on the weekends. We also call out our ‘positives’ and discuss business for the week, like who is covering leave and who needs assistance.

I’m scheduled for Pre-Employment Assessments in the clinic for the rest of the day. As an AEP, I mostly do the functional assessments which check if a person can complete the physical tasks that their job requires. It includes elements like assessing a person’s ability to lift and carry weight and objects of different sizes.

On the off-chance that there is a gap between appointments, I get some time to make a few progress calls and update my case files, action any new workplace rehabilitation referrals and make updates to parties involved in the files. After being on site this morning in the humidity, being in the office air con is pretty pleasant! 


In my job, I get to see first-hand the different types of jobs people do in many different places and today I’m off to Moogerah Dam to see a client.

Tom* is Park Ranger who had a severe accident that left him with a limited range of movement. He’s worked really hard on his rehab.

This is my second visit and I spend the day with him to see how he’s getting on with his daily tasks. We spend time in a boat on the water before getting out in his 4×4 and taking the fire trails up into the mountains.

The scenery is spectacular. I’m amazed both at how fascinating this place is and at the massive amount of progress Tom has made. His determination and ability to adapt how he moves and does his job despite his injury is really inspiring and shows just what’s possible.

After a really awesome day, I drive home feeling inspired and lucky to have been reminded one of the many reasons why I love this job.


Today it’s another worksite visit but not until later, so I’ve got time for casework. I review emails, hit the phones to make some monitoring calls, update recovery at work plans and complete file reviews to check we are on track with the plans we’ve made for injured workers. I’ve learned that you need to be on the front foot by proactively checking in with workers. If you wait until they contact you, it’s usually because there is a problem and it could be too late.

Later in the morning, I head off to Surfside Buses to complete an assessment for one of the injured drivers. I am with Surfside at least once a week.

I’ve learned to read a bus run sheet and have seriously considered getting my bus driver’s licence to make my visits there more efficient. I already have my forklift licence so I figure, why not?!

Today I take another driver out from the office to complete the assessment which goes well. I use my drive time to make a few calls, and when I get home, I complete the suitable duties plan, upload it to Carelever (our tech platform) and sent it to all parties. I also set tasks for myself, like when I’m going to check in next and make notes to connect with the treating physio and GP.

After my morning out of the office, I have 30 emails and 5 missed calls to return. You’ve got to stay on top of the calls and emails or you can get overwhelmed.


It’s another day out and I’m off to Widdon Aged Care facility in Beaudesert, just over an hour away. I’m a regular at this site and know all the wards and wings of the facility like the back of my hand.

Today I’m meeting an injured (Assistant in Nursing) AIN. I’ve had a lot of experience in the Care sector over the last few years and I’m mindful there are particular challenges in getting workers back to their full duties. People working in Aged Care deal with people and people are not predictable. It’s sometimes hard to get that gradual increase in the demands of their duties because emergencies happen and you can’t always plan every single part of the day. But despite this, we’ve got some really good outcomes here at Widdon and I’m feeling confident about the progress we’re making.

The other thing I really like about coming to Widdon is the people. It is heartwarming to see that the vast majority of the AIN’s that work here absolutely love the residents.

There is evidence of the warmth of their care and their close relationships in every interaction.

As usual, no drive is wasted! When I’m done at Widdon, I complete some follow-up calls in the car on the way home. Afterwards, I complete the suitable duties plan and then crack on with my casework for the rest of the afternoon.



I’m back in the clinic at 8am for Pre-Employment fun. I have a half-day allocation to PEPs. The clinic is hectic and it’s all hands-on deck until lunchtime. It’s a team lunch today and we are celebrating a new starter to the team.

This afternoon, it’s something different; a Physical Conditioning session at the gym. I’m meeting a worker recovering from a recent shoulder injury. He’s finished his acute rehab with the physio and got a range of movement back into his shoulder. Today, we’re working on his functional strength gains for his upper body (and other conditioning for his body post-surgery). I have to review his technique and see how he’s progressing with his exercises. I might see a client like this only one a week or once a fortnight for a supervised session. My job is to get them to a point where they can self-manage so education is of vital importance.

I absolutely love being in the gym. It’s like my natural home.

Having by-passed a clinical role and heading straight to Occ Rehab after uni, I find that delivering Physical Conditioning is now possibly one of the best parts of my job. Between the initial assessment, progress update and final assessment, I get to see the improvement and so does the client. It’s so rewarding. I could easily do this kind of work all day so the 45 mins at the gym goes quickly!

I’m back to the office for a final bit of admin. I get a hold of one of the specialists who is on one of my files as they’ve finally returned from holidays and am pleased to tick that off my to-do list before the weekend!

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.


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