A ‘Journey Girl’. Forever curious, still growing up and picking up education along the way, to keep adventuring, searching, dreaming and doing.
Where it all started...
A journey-girl; curious, passionate and witty by nature. When she was 14, her mother took her and her brother to Disneyland, Los Angeles. She took a ride on a roller-coaster that ventured through an artery of the human body. They dodged blood and immune cells that bowled toward them and the vivid colours let her imagination run wild. Since then, she wondered how the body worked; interested in the microdynamics.
As a result of her passion for learning, Fiona now has extensive academic qualifications including:
- Masters of Dietetics, post-graduate qualification, UniSA - DAA accredited course;
- Masters of Human Nutrition, Deakin University;
- Bachelor of Science majoring in Molecular and Microbiology, Flinders University;
- Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice, with Honours;
- Honours, Bachelor of Science (in Immunology), Women’s and Children’s Hospital,Flinders University;
- Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine, Health Schools Australia;
- Teaching certificate, Flinders University;
- Certificate of Training and Assessment, Southern Cross; and
- Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Diploma, Deakin Prime.
Fiona worked as a pharmaceutical representative for a number of large multinational companies for over ten years. She serviced doctors and medical specialists with information for a large number of pharmaceutical products. She discussed product indications, contra-indications, mechanisms of action, half-life, food and other product- interactions and side effects. This gave her a great deal of insight for patient care when coming to Fiona with health issues.
Due to her keen interest in natural health, she studied naturopathy and western herbal medicine over many years while she was a pharmaceutical representative and then finishing it after studying law. This study combined with her pharmaceutical work with pharmaceutical products enabled her to have a good understanding of health from different perspectives. She also developed at the time a deep appreciation for Aboriginal history of herbology and bush medicine that was prevalent before colonisation by the Europeans. She also developed a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and health.
She re-enrolled in the Master of Dietetics at UniSA and studied part-time the next four-five years, while teaching law at a few institutions. She needed to leave the course some 20 years ago due to having young children. The course was very time consuming. She decided to also do the Master of Human Nutrition at Deakin University around this same time. The two courses offered different perspectives. Dietetics is very much an allied health specialist course for assisting patients struggling with disease related issues. The Human Nutrition Master was more about health promotion and prevention of disease. As she likes to consider different approaches, she found both courses to be interesting and challenging.
Her strong interest in Aboriginal health and background in naturopathy led her to Alice Springs hospital for a placement. She learned more about the interesting aspects of Aboriginal cultures, wellbeing and health. She also witnessed some sad situations due to food insecurity that brought about refeeding syndrome in a few patients. After this she was fortunate enough to do a placement in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and work in the upper and lower gastrointestinal wards and assisted patients with diet after Whipple procedure and other operations. She also spent time in the liver ward, and general ward. Sadly, she witnessed the suffering of some patients with liver failure due to alcohol poisoning or other reasons beyond the patients' control. The most eye opening experiences for Fiona, were learning about liver issues for a patient with reaction to a herbal product and the new 3D technology for bone replacement (one patient was given a 3D femur, that was the exact dimensions for his body). These experiences have deepened her insights. She believes she has a well rounded understanding of medications, health, wellbeing, safe alternative healthy options for patients, and can work well with doctors and surgeons.
She has taught about 30 different topics to students since studying law and legal practice. She worked a while as a solicitor but found that she much prefers to work in academia, and research the law, and teach it. She currently tutors individuals, groups, and teach in 6 universities around Australia including:
- UniSA as Coordinator for an Aboriginal Cultures topic;
- Lecturer for Aboriginal students one-on-one in both law and health topics;
- Lecturer for Aboriginal voices in film and literature;
- Flinders Medical College for post-graduate medical students in law, ethics and Aboriginal cultural safety;
- Nursing and Midwifery College for law and Aboriginal health topics;
- Flinders Law College and UniSA, tutoring for many legal topics over the years.
Fiona is an avid cat and budgie lover and in addition to ejoying spoiling her pets, takes great pride in rehabilitating injured wildlife (birds) and the occasional rescue cat.