Member Profile of Cassandra Small, New South Wales

A country girl through and through with a strong interest in individual and community health, Cassandra Small has recently completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy and was a SARRAH NAHSSS Undergraduate Scholar. Cassandra is an aspiring health professional, and physiotherapy combines Cassandra's love for movement, interest in human biology and passion for people. 

 

The Essentials:

Your Name Cassandra Small
Your Profession/Study Physiotherapy - completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy through the University of Newcastle, just two weeks ago!
Your Location Tamworth, NSW
SARRAH Member Since 2018

 

The Questions:

1. What are you most passionate about?

Empowering individuals to be physically active in any way that they can. I strongly believe that “movement is medicine”, for the body and for the mind, whether that is gardening, walking the dog, running a marathon, or something in between. I believe that community spirit is also a valuable part of this! The teamwork, encouragement and support I have seen individuals give each other is something I will never get tired of seeing, whether it’s in the local exercise/healthy living group for Aboriginal women I help out at, the exercise group for rehab inpatients I helped out at during my final student placement, at Parkrun on a Saturday morning, or within the AFL club I play for.

2. What is your best way to de-stress after a busy day?

Going for a run – getting fresh air, sunshine and being in nature. And hanging out with my family (and the family dog Frankie).

3. Do you have any other corporate skills or experience?

Over the past four years, I have worked with the mental health organisation Batyr. Batyr runs programs in schools and universities across Australia with the aims of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, and to empower young people to reach out for support when they need it. I have presented to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of students, as well as teachers and parents across NSW.

4. How rural/remote have you been?

I grew up in Gunnedah, a small town in the North-West region of NSW. When I was sixteen, my family moved about an hour up the road to Tamworth, where I attend high school. (It was great to only have a 10 minute trip to school from then on!). Since then, I lived in Newcastle for my first three years of university and, this year, I completed my final year of studying in Tamworth through the UON Department of Rural Health. I have been fortunate to engage with individuals, communities and schools as part and outside of my studies, in rural areas within and outside of my home region. This has included attending the SARRAH Conference in Darwin this year, where I presented a paper “Preparing the next generation for a changing landscape: Physiotherapy students’ learning through community engagement programs”.

5. Have you always intended to live and work rurally?

Yes. I am a country girl through and through. The community spirit of rural towns is something that I value dearly – you will find me at any event that brings the community together! There is so much that rural towns have to offer to health professionals.

I was very fortunate to receive SARRAH’s NAHSSS Undergraduate Scholarship (unfortunately no longer funded) to study physiotherapy at university. If not for this scholarship, the road to university would have been much longer and I would not be answering these questions today as someone who has just completed their degree.

6. What would you say to someone thinking about moving to a rural area for the first time?

Get involved in the community. Join a club (sports, music etc). Go to community events. Introduce yourself at the places you go to build rapport with the community locals. Learn about the history of the place and what makes the town “unique”.

7. What is your hidden talent or skill outside of work?

I love to read. I’m doing up an old bookshelf at the moment to fit in all of the books that I have bought from second-hand book shops just this year. So my “talent”, I suppose, is always finding an excuse to buy more books.

8. What is one of the most rewarding things you have done?

Participating in career programs and events for young people, who live in small communities, with aspirations of becoming a health professional!

9. Where is your favourite place in the world?

Home. Nothing compares to being at home with my family, especially at this time of year when the extended family all get together for Christmas!

10. Lastly, why allied health?

I have always had a strong interest in individual and community health, and I like that allied health offers the scope for both health promotion/prevention and traditional health care. Beyond this, physiotherapy is a profession that combines my love of movement, interest in human biology, and passion for people.

Pictured above: Cassandra with her dog Frankie

 

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Member profile: December 2018