14 October 2022

Melinda's passion speaks volumes for her profession

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Melinda Hewitt

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital paediatric speech pathologist Melinda Hewitt. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital paediatric speech pathologist Melinda Hewitt is passionate about helping children improve skills that make participating in daily life easier.

Melinda says speech sounds, voice skills and language are essential parts of children’s development and socialisation.

She has been involved in the assessment and treatment of children from birth to age 10 who have difficulty with communication, feeding or swallowing.

Melinda says she loves the families she works with as they are completely committed to helping their children meet their goals and improve their skills.

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Having worked with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) for the past 18 years, she feels as though some of her colleagues are lifelong friends.

“Many people have come and gone over the years, but we feel like family and work is so rewarding,” Melinda says.

She says the transition of the speech team to the new health services hub is an important step in connecting the wider health team to what is happening in the acute setting.

“The outcomes and consistency of care really benefited by having us all so close together. We are dealing with multiple services, and we’re better able to coordinate their care now we’re housed centrally,” Melinda says.

“This is especially important for our children who are having difficulty swallowing.”

The mother-of-three also coordinates student placement for the MLHD speech department.

She enjoys providing extra clinical support and teaching undergraduate and master’s students.

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“It’s lots of extra work but so rewarding. I just love to see a student graduate and then see them become a colleague,” Melinda says.

“Knowing that somewhere along the journey, I have helped facilitate someone’s love for our speech pathology profession and a passion for regional health is a highlight in my career.”

Melinda says people from metropolitan areas should consider the country change to a regional city such as Wagga, which she describes as “such a fun town”.

“There are so many great things here that makes working and raising a family such a joy.

“I love my favourite (two) coffee shops, and the combination of the cycling tracks out at Pomi and the new park down at the river means there’s never a dull moment for our family with three little kids.”

On Friday, 14 October, the MLHD will celebrate International Allied Health Professionals Day.

To find out more about speech therapy, click here.

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