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Thinking occupational health?

Mark OvertonMark Overton works for Southern Rehab in Christchurch and has a special interest in occupational health and persistent pain.

He works within a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who enable people to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. It was an undergraduate placement with Southern Rehab which sparked Mark’s interest in providing holistic rehabilitation to individuals with persisting pain and those who are unable to participate in work.

Mark completed an undergraduate degree at Otago in 2013 and is currently completing his Master of Physiotherapy, endorsed in occupational health physiotherapy. Mark commenced postgraduate study soon after graduating because he found occupational health both challenging and enjoyable and wanted to gain further knowledge to develop his practice.

Interestingly, one of the six postgraduate papers focussed on looking at an injured employee within the context of the wider work environment. Mark considers that this has enabled him to better identify and then manage the factors which could impact his clients’ health. He also reported that “being able to tailor assignments to my caseload was particularly helpful as it meant I could develop skills and knowledge in my specific areas of practice.”

PHTY650 is a research paper which Mark completed in 2016. His research focussed on upper quadrant muscle activity in musicians with pain, something he is currently looking to have published. This will compliment occupational health research which he completed during his undergraduate degree which was published in the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy last year.

Mark’s current goal is to finish his Masters which he hopes to graduate from later this year. He also wants to continue practicing in his current field as well as participate in further research projects, contributing to occupational health and persisting pain literature.

His advice to new graduates wanting to work in this field is to develop strong communication skills and to consider all factors that may limit someone from reaching their potential.