Zoë Ashby-Deering

Zoë Ashby-Deering

University of Western Australia
Project Officer at Perth Children’s Hospital Project
Zoë studied Population Health and Human Geography/Urban Planning at University of Western Australia

What's your job about?

After completing the 2016 WA Health Graduate Program, I am still working within WA Health- specifically on the Perth Children’s Hospital Project. The current state paediatric hospital, Princess Margret Hospital is being relocated to a new facility called Perth Children’s Hospital. My team is responsible for coordinating the safe and timely transfer of over 7,000 pieces of medical equipment to the new hospital site.

My role is to consult with key stakeholders including; clinicians, IT staff, project and biomedical staff to manage change requests and finalise the transfer equipment lists for over 60 transferring departments. I use my analytical and problem solving skills on a daily basis. For example once a change request is submitted I navigate through a range of databases, archived emails, procurement documents and action logs to identify the history of equipment and assess if it is suitable for transfer. I am responsible for ensuring the appropriate people are informed and it is actioned for equipment changes to be made on our database.

A typical day will start by checking emails for change requests relating to adding, removing or reallocating the equipment on the transfer equipment lists. I enjoy the ‘hand-on’ nature of this role, meetings often involve me donning a ‘high-vis’ vest and completing a walkthrough on site at Perth Children’s Hospital. I also meet with clinicians on their ward to assess and tag equipment for transfer. Project life is fast pace and highly dynamic, I would never have imagines 12 months ago I would be working on such a high profile project!

 What's your background?

I’ve grown up in Perth, Western Australia. I went straight from high school to university where I completed my double degree in Population Health and Urban Planning. While at university I was fortunate to be selected to participate in an exchange at the University of Vermont in the USA. This was by far the best 6 months of my life, living and studying in another country was fabulous opportunity and it allowed me to gain a global perspective both academically and socially!

Upon returning home, many of my fellow classmates were already applying for jobs and on a whim, I attended an information session about the WA Health Graduate Program.  I had no experience working in the corporate workforce so I thought this program would be an excellent opportunity to put my university learnings into action while also having exposure to an extensive professional development program, mentoring and the opportunity to gain an additional qualification through the Diploma of Leadership and Management.

I was successfully selected in the General Corporate Stream for the 2016 Program. I completed three rotations in different departments across WA Health. My key project achievements included:

  • A discussion paper to inform state-wide policy and planning for obesity prevention in school children.
  • Finalising the transfer equipment lists for the Perth Children’s Hospital Project.
  • A KPI definitions matrix to guide the Office of the Chief Dental Officer in biennial reporting for the Inaugural State of Oral Health Plan 2016-2020.

Post Grad Program I have been fortunate to return to the Perth Children’s Hospital Project. Later this year, I will be relocating and working as Health Promotion Officer with WA Country Health Service!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely Yes!

WA Health is a complex and multidisciplinary organisation, my current role as Project Officer on the Perth Children’s Hospital Project does not relate to my degree! In this last year I have worked in three diverse roles where I have rarely utilised the ‘facts and figures’ I learnt at University. Some critical skills I use and continue to develop are:

  • Clear and concise written and verbal communication.
  • Analytical, critical thinking and ability to use my initiative to actively solve problems.
  • Project management skills to meet key deadlines.
  • Emotional intelligence- the ability to read the situation and draw on my interpersonal skills to manage conflicting personalities.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love how WA Health is so diverse! There are so many unique opportunities and exciting career paths you can follow! For example;  I am currently working on a once in a life time project at The  Perth Children’s Hospital and I will be relocating regionally and coordinating healthy lifestyle programs for those living in WA’s Wheatbelt! Ultimately, it is very rewarding knowing the work you are doing will directly or indirectly benefit the health and wellbeing of all West Australians.

What are the limitations of your job?

As with many Government jobs, understanding how to negotiate the bureaucracy and timeframes for decisions to be made can be a somewhat frustrating learning curve. Working on high profile projects can come under scrutiny and media coverage, which can add a lot of pressure. That said working in the public sector is very rewarding work especially as I am contributing to a massive project that will ultimately produce a state of the art facility to benefit all children their families across WA!

Pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Take up any opportunity to travel and participate in exchange programs! They are a fabulous opportunity to gain a global perspective both socially and academically.
  • Go to information sessions, research and apply for jobs while you are still at university. Don’t stress about it, but it can help to ‘beat the rush’ of new graduates that you will have to compete with if you hold off on it.
  • Think outside the box when applying for jobs, many organisations are keen to diversify their workforce so don’t limit yourself to fields specific to your degree!
  • BREATH! It may take time to find a job, but everything will work out in the end!