Honours study focuses on trauma and burnout

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USC Psychology Honours graduate Tyne Smith at her recent USC graduation ceremony

USC Psychology Honours graduate Tyne Smith has been able to apply her thesis findings immediately in her role as a Child Safety Officer, helping to understand and explain human behaviour.

Tyne, 34, started her Honours degree in 2018 and completed a thesis on burnout and job dissatisfaction in professions exposed to vicarious trauma, which comes as a result of working closely with traumatised clients.

“This involved exploring burnout and job satisfaction in police, fire and ambulance professionals as well as those who work in child safety and youth justice,” said Tyne, who grew up in Caboolture and now works in the South Burnett region.

“I researched whether burnout and decreased job satisfaction occur due to exposure to vicarious trauma, or due to unnecessary and unreasonable tasks.

“My studies and research helped to teach me the skills and tools required to overcome this adversity, and work with and support my colleagues and the families I work with to achieve better outcomes both personally and professionally.

“It’s also given me the skills to work with people in overcoming adversity, strengthening both myself and my clients to build resilience to the tragedies and trials that we each face, and find the strength to continue to move forward and affect positive change.”

Tyne, who studied at St Columban’s College in Caboolture and volunteers with the Lifeline crisis telephone service, completed her undergraduate psychology degree in Victoria and was open to suggestions on where to complete her postgraduate studies.

“I went to a psychology postgraduate information session in Brisbane and every major university was represented there. But the thing that stood out the most for me about USC was that I never felt like a number,” she said.

“The head of the honours program took the time to ask my name and be curious about why I wanted to do postgrad studies and provided some great information and advice.

“When I sent her a follow-up email a week later, she remembered who I was, what we had talked about, and provided help and options for me to enrol in a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)(Honours).

“The School of Social Sciences was big enough to have access to great resources, supports, facilities and professors, with dedicated librarians, and support services and amenities, and small enough to ensure you felt part of the university community.

“I was also very fortunate to have USC’s Dr Prudence Millear as my thesis supervisor. Her passions so closely aligned with my own, which made such a significant difference to my honours year.”

 
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