Shannon Camilleri has always been passionate about healthcare. But she never thought she’d make a bigger difference by leaving the health system to work in another sector.
Shannon started her communications career in 2021, after five years working as a speech pathologist. She’d done a lot of work one-on-one with patients, often with rehabilitation and aged care patients as well as those in palliative care, and noticed behaviour and lifestyle patterns in patient case history.
“There were so many patients with similar histories, with limited understanding of how their behaviour could impact their health” she says.
Shannon was motivated to explore the role of public health professionals and health communication in improving health literacy in the community.
“I could see a huge gap where health communications could play a role. I wanted to empower people in the community by increasing access to health information and promoting positive change, and I realised that healthcare communications was a way to help share healthcare messaging to these vulnerable people in our community.”
Shannon had studied health communications previously, so she had a base level of understanding. Her career in allied health had also helped her develop other relevant skills.
“I’d worked in multidisciplinary teams, and was able to build rapport with a range of different people including other health professionals, patients and family members along with external stakeholders like NDIS case workers.
“I’d learnt to adapt my communications style to suit different audiences. I also had an awareness of accessible communications and how to use simple, plain language to reach communications and pull out key pieces of information.”
As a Client Manager in our Sydney office, Shannon has seen the pivotal role communications, and specifically health communications, can play in relation to public disease awareness, advocacy and stakeholder engagement. She spends a lot of time working with health sector organisations to communicate effectively with key stakeholders and the community at large. It’s a refreshing, new way to make a difference, and one that still delivers on her passion for health.
“If you’re thinking about moving to comms, reach out and have a chat with someone about what the day-to-day role is like. It’s a malleable industry, and you can make your career whatever you want it to be – you won’t know unless you try.”
We have communications roles available now, including for those from other industries. To find out more or to learn about what’s involved in a communications career, contact Pip Scarff on [email protected]