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Graduate thrives in respiratory science career

7 Jul 2020

Completing clinical placements and paid work at hospitals from Nambour to Robina has sparked an exciting career for USC graduate Zoe Presley, who is now a senior respiratory scientist at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

The 2014 USC Biomedical Science graduate performs pulmonary function tests on inpatients and outpatients from the age of two and a half years to older adults.

“Our laboratory offers 20 types of respiratory investigations including measurements of lung capacity, airway narrowing or inflammation, oxygen transfer, respiratory muscle strength and the response of the cardiorespiratory system to exercise,” said Zoe, 34, of Ashmore.

“I like the diversity of patients – we are a paediatric and adult service – as well as the variety of respiratory diseases we see and the great team I work with in Gold Coast Health.

“I also enjoy being in a hospital environment where there is a strong commitment to further education, quality assurance, research and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.”

Zoe said this year’s advent of COVID-19 had prompted the regular wearing of personal protective equipment including masks and had impacted testing schedules.

“In the future, we expect to test patients who have had significant respiratory complications as a result of COVID-19 to help gauge their progress,” she said.

Zoe said her passion for science developed as a high school student at Matthew Flinders Anglican College.

“My USC studies gave me a solid base knowledge of human physiology and anatomy, which helped me understand the tests performed in the laboratory and the pathophysiology of the disease processes we see,” she said.

“The degree enabled me to develop a scientific and medical fluency to navigate and understand clinical notes, test procedures and critically appraise academic papers.”

Clinical placements – including one at The Prince Charles Hospital on Brisbane’s northside where she also gained work – gave Zoe hands-on real world experience.

“The placements helped me find out whether the work I was doing was right for me,” she said. “They led to employment, which was a perfect outcome.”

Zoe worked at Nambour General Hospital for a year after completing her USC degree and later worked at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Sunnybank Private Hospital, the Northside Heart and Lung private laboratory and Robina Hospital.

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