Cairns Occupational Therapy Staff

We are founding members of the FNQ Allied Health Association Inc, with Kerry being the inaugural President. This has developed out of the Cairns Allied Health Private Practitioner's Network which we developed and convened for the last 8 years and our more recent involvement with the Allied Health Reference Group to the FNQRDGP. All allied health professionals are being invited to join the association which aims to give us 'a voice' in the changing health environment.

Our Therapists

Cairns Occupational Therapy therapists are committed to ensuring their knowledge and skills are as up-to-date as possible and based on scientific research. The therapists are all members of OT Australia, the peak body representing Occupational Therapists. We constantly seek opportunities to participate in continuing professional education and maintain our Accredited Occupational Therapist status.

Kerry Stingel

Kerry Stingel Kerry graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from The University of Queensland in July 1989. She worked for three years in general adult rehabilitation in Geelong prior to returning to her hometown, Cairns. After working for four years in adult rehabilitation and aged care at Cairns Base Hospital Kerry had the opportunity to work full time in Hand Therapy. For nearly three years she worked at the private practice of two Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Kerry became a full member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association (AHTA) in August 1998. She is now an Accredited Hand Therapist (as awarded by the AHTA) in August 1998.

She started her own private practice, Cairns Occupational Therapy, in November 1999. Kerry's work encompasses hand therapy, pain management (especially for Neuropathic Pain), lymphoedema management, burn and scar management, medicolegal assessments, worksite evaluation for injured workers, supervising Occupational Therapy students in clinical placement and increasing opportunities for Occupational Therapists.

She is an active member of the FNQ Allied Health Association and an Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University. Kerry is on the National Lymphoedema Practitioner's Register (NLPR). She is a member of the JCU OT consultative Committee and the JCU Practice Scholars Network helping to support the development of the next generations of Occupational Therapists.

Kerry and her husband have three children and has been a volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellor and educator with the Australian Breastfeeding Association since 2000. She is passionate about teamwork, supporting local service providers and providing holistic care.

Nicola Phibbs

Nicola Phibbs

In 1986 Nicola Phibbs graduated with a Diploma of Occupational Therapy from the Central Institute of Technology, New Zealand. She worked for 2 years as a psychosocial Occupational Therapist in NZ before pursuing her interest in occupational rehabilitation in Australia in 1989.

In Sydney Nicola developed skills working in a multi-disciplinary occupational rehabilitation team both in the private and public sector. She gained extensive clinical experience in Functional Capacity Evaluations, injury management education, work site/station assessments and return to work programs.

With this experience behind her Nicola moved to Cairns in 1992 and setup both the Occupational Therapy Assessment Clinic for the QLD Workers' Compensation Board and a private clinic for a Brisbane rehabilitation service. For 18 months Nicola further consolidated her occupational rehabilitation skills within local and regional industries.

After raising her two sons through their primary school years Nicola returned to Occupational Therapy to consolidate and further expand her knowledge of occupational rehabilitation, hand therapy and soft tissue injury management.

Nicola's creative interests away from work include the piano and the arts. She also enjoys keeping fit, bush walking, fishing and anything that involves the whole family!

Rebecca Morrison (nee Sperring)

Rebecca Sperring

Rebecca Morrison graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University, Townsville in 2008. During her final years of study Rebecca had the opportunity to complete an honours project on the lived experience of Lymphoedema in women post breast cancer treatment. Rebecca was able to present her preliminary findings of her study at an International Cancer Conference, held in Townsville 2007.

Rebecca has since worked in western Queensland as a community and aged care therapist and then spent a year in Tasmania in a regional hospital focusing on orthopaedics.

Rebecca is now focusing on workplace rehabilitation and Lymphoedema management whilst increasing her clinical skills in soft tissue injury management and upper limb therapy.

A true Cairns local, Rebecca is glad to be back in her home town after years of being away. In her spare time Rebecca enjoys reading, creative writing, spending time with family and friends, as well as walking her very enthusiastic Border Collie.

Deirdre Hill

Deirdre

Deirdre graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from Cumberland College of Health Sciences (Sydney) in 1987. She worked for several years in orthopaedics, adult rehabilitation and community health in Sydney before moving to the Hunter Valley to work as a school based Occupational Therapist.

Deirdre spent 2 years working in rural Zimbabwe as part of the Australian Volunteers Abroad program, working mainly with children in the hospital and remote villages. On returning to Australia she moved to Broken Hill where she spent 15 years working in Occupational Rehabilitation, gaining experience in managing return to work programs, Functional Capacity Evaluations, pre-employment assessments and injury management.

Deirdre moved to Cairns at the beginning of 2015. She has been working in community Occupational Therapy positions, organising home modifications and equipment prescription prior to joining Cairns Occupational Therapy. Deirdre is focusing on workplace rehabilitation and home assessment while increasing her clinical skills in upper limb therapy and soft tissue injury management.

When she's not busy being an OT, she sings in a choir, enjoys kayaking, walking, travel and photography.

Natasha Dalzell

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Natasha graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University in December 2018. She has worked in aged care and disability services where she has assisted clients of all ages and disabilities.Through working in disability services Natasha has gained experience in the NDIS. This included Occupational Therapy, equipment prescription and major home modifications.

Natasha is now focusing on Aged Care and NDIS assistive technology prescription and home modifications, as well as pre-employment screenings for support workers and mining employees.

A Cairns local, she enjoys spending time with her family, her multitude of pets, and horse riding on weekends.

Amanda Donald

Amanda Donald

Amanda Donald graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University, Townsville in 2008. Amanda worked in mental health services for three years after graduation in Mackay and Cairns. Amanda then worked in the community and private sector in Cairns and Brisbane providing home based services to support clients to overcome barriers to their engagement in meaningful and purposeful activity including; equipment prescription, home modification, cognitive rehabilitation and falls prevention.

Amanda then relocated to Darwin (Northern Territory) where Amanda had the opportunity to provide NDIS funded occupational therapy services supporting participants who experienced disabilities that impacted upon their physical, cognitive, communication and psychosocial functioning. Providing comprehensive assessment, therapy, equipment prescription and home modifications to support participants to work towards their goals and priorities in life.

Amanda enjoys working with clients and families in their own environment to develop a holistic, person-centred understanding of their unique situation. Then working together to identify creative, individual strategies to support the person to engage in activities that are meaningful and purposeful to them.

Amanda and her family are thrilled to be back in Cairns enjoying re-exploring the incredible natural environment and the vast array of family friendly activities. When not enjoying time with her family Amanda enjoys exercise, reading and spending time with friends.

Administration Staff

Practice Manager: Andrew Stingel

Administration Staff: Lucy Stokes and Lyn O'Connor

For general information, please email mail@cairnsot.com.

Occupational Therapy Students

As part of our commitment to the Occupational Therapy profession we voluntarily supervise Occupational Therapy students in their 10-week undergraduate clinical placements. Students appreciate being able to observe and assist with treatment of clients. At the client's discretion, the student may attend and participate in consultations, but will at all times be accompanied by a supervising qualified and experienced therapist.

Find out more about an Occupational Therapy degree at James Cook University.