As an undergraduate student Jeanette Van Luyn never imagined she would be working with older adults, yet eight years, a degree and a doctorate later and she is loving working as clinical psychologist at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld).
Dr Van Luyn completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science at UQ in 2009 and went on to the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology), graduating in 2012.
Her role at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) is very diverse and includes both research and clinical work.
When she’s not providing clinical support and advice to both family carers and staff of residential aged care facilities, Dr Van Luyn is conducting a research and development project to enhance Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld)’s capacity as an organisation to deliver sensitive and appropriate care to its culturally and linguistically diverse clients.
She also conducts education sessions about dementia care and stress management, as well as providing individual therapy for family carers.
“It’s hard not to be motivated and inspired by my job; every day I come into contact with some incredible people who dedicate their lives to caring for people with dementia,” she said.
“The respect I have for the enormous investment of time, effort, emotion and finances that carers put into their caring role is both inspirational and motivates me to provide support for these valuable members of society however I can.
“People with dementia, and other forms of cognitive impairment, are a vulnerable group in our community and need strong voices to advocate for their needs and quality of life, which is what I believe Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) does an exceptional job at.”
Dr Van Luyn credits the education she received at The University of Queensland in securing her role at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld).
“UQ provided me with the highest quality education and the best educators, mentors and opportunities to learn and develop my skills as a psychologist,” she said.
“The postgraduate program, although very challenging, provided me with incredible experiences to practice my skills in a range of clinical settings and to learn from highly experienced and effective therapists.
“The hard work was certainly worth it; a career in psychology is fascinating, challenging and enriching in so many ways, and the sense of satisfaction you gain from making a positive change in peoples’ lives cannot be overestimated.”
In 2015 Dr Van Luyn plans to work as a psychologist in aged care in the United Kingdom and, in the longer term, hopes to complete a PhD in geropsychology and work in academia as well as continuing to develop her clinical expertise