Lisa Connolly started her career journey in nursing in 1993 after graduating from the University of Canberra. With a strong passion for patient care, Lisa went on to complete further study in paediatric nursing, midwifery, and emergency nursing. While she still enjoyed many aspects of nursing, after twenty years in the industry Lisa realised she was ready for a new challenge.
In 2018, Lisa made the decision to complete the Basic Principles in Occupational Hygiene course through the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene. This course, coupled with her background in nursing, gave her the perfect springboard into a career in occupational hygiene.
We caught up with Lisa to chat about how her career has progressed over the last three years as an occupational hygiene consultant.
Q. What is it like working as an occupational hygiene consultant? What about the role makes you want to get up in the morning?
Lisa: I love my job and feel passionate about what I do. It’s how I used to feel about nursing, and it’s an amazing feeling to bounce out of bed again and be happy to go to work. It’s great knowing that you can make a difference and it is such a buzz when you feel you have done something that has made a real impact.
Q. What surprised you about the role when you first started?
Lisa: I was taken aback by the amazingly supportive people who went out of their way to help and trusted me enough to give me a chance. I am still amazed at how supported I feel and how I’m acknowledged for my hard work. I have never experienced anything like it in my whole working career – it continues to blow me away.
Q. Has the role met your expectations?
Lisa: I came into the role not quite sure what to expect. My main goal was working in a role with a focus on preventative health – other than that I didn’t have any real expectations as I’d had no experience in the field. My approach was to take the role as it comes. There has definitely been a few tough moments, but that comes with learning a new role and the mental exhaustion that can cause. But I have absolutely no regrets in taking the plunge, just wish I had found the profession years ago!
Q. Where would you like to head in your career? What’s next?
Lisa: My heart says to go all the way! I’m currently completing a Masters in Occupational Hygiene & Toxicology just get out there and learn as much as possible. I guess my aspirations are a nice balance of doing more project management work in combination with field work.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have for someone looking to move into occupational hygiene?
Lisa: Put yourself out there to create the opportunity and when you get it, grab it by the horns, work hard and have fun. Working in occupational hygiene is very rewarding. All you really need is a passion for what you do. This is a perfect role for someone who is motivated, driven, loves learning and being challenged and has a sense of curiosity.