Mrs Gjyn O'Toole

Mrs Gjyn O'Toole

Senior Lecturer

School of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy)

Career Summary


As an Occupational Therapist I have enjoyed empowering people to overcome emotional, physical, cognitive or social barriers in daily life. Since graduating in the mid-1970s I have worked in various settings including general rehabilitation; stroke rehabilitation; rheumatology; amputations; mental health (both acute and long-term stay); occupational rehabilitation; paediatrics; palliative care; orthopaedics; dementia; medico legal; policy development and management in Australia. I have also practiced with children and adults in both Fiji and China. My endeavours in Fiji for the last thirty years have contributed to raising the profile of people with disability and changing the way they are perceived within Fijian society.. My endeavours in China have contributed to increased understanding and management of children with Autism. In many cases it has empowered parents to accept their children and provide the environments that assist these children to reach their potential. As a teacher I have worked in both universities and high schools teaching communication; general English; scientific English, Educational Psychology, research skills and aspects of Occupational Therapy. Since training as a teacher I have taught at the University of Sydney and the University of Newcastle; in Australia and in China; South Africa; Uganda and Kenya. As a representative of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists I taught Occupational Therapy in northern.. I have a passion for teaching and my experience in various practice and educational settings allows me to assist students in many areas. I use mixed methods studies to validate my teaching and to enhance student learning. Findings from such research are generally presented at state, national international conferences. Since joining the Occupational Therapy (OT) program in 2002, I have developed new courses in Occupational Science; Introducing Occupational Therapy; Paediatrics; transitioning into practice and communication. During this time I have lectured in Mental Health, Group work; Palliative Care, Intellectual Disabilities, Rural and Remote practice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples health and occupations; transitioning into practice and developing relevant OT programs. I have been instrumental in supporting overseas students as they develop both their language skills and their competence to function in Australia. While teaching at UoN, my skill in teaching, my research and my experience have contributed to the transformation of many students as they discover their potential, overcome barriers of many kinds and become enthused by my commitment to bringing dignity and worth to all individuals. In recognition of my commitment to quality teaching, I received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Learning Support (2007). I have had various publications including journal articles, book chapters and books, based upon current evidence. The second edition of Communication: Core interpersonal skills for health professionals (2012), a well-researched book is used in courses for health professionals around the world. I have also jointly edited a ground breaking book Occupation Analysis in Practice (2011) with Lynette Mackenzie. This book presents a holistic analysis of occupation for practice which some consider a novel approach for Occupational Therapists. I actively support colleagues in both Iran and China where particular relevant health professions are developing research knowledge and skill. I have been part of three teams receiving grant funding from the UoN, Centre for Teaching and Learning to research and develop relevant resources for students and staff of the university. I am currently developing programs for local primary schools to ensure all kindergarten children have the opportunity to reach their potential. I am however committed to assisting OT students reach their potential through research and quality teaching.

Research Expertise
Communicating in Health practice; Enhancing student learning; Characteristics of family/Person-centred practice; Skills in developing cultural competence while communicating during practice.

Teaching Expertise
I have taught many subjects since joining the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Newcastle. These include: Introductory OT, Introduction to Occupational Therapy Practice; Paediatrics, Psychosocial Health/Mental Health, Group Process, Specialty Skills (Burns, Amputations, Oncology, Intellectual Disability), Transitioning to Practice, Occupational Science from an international perspective, communication and OT Program Development. I have also been responsible for supervision and organisation of Professional Placements for various year within the program. Research Honours supervision is a regular part of my workload. I have coordinated First Year, Third Year and Fourth Year of the OT degree as well as coordinating various courses within the degree across four years of the program. I have consistently provided language and cultural support for Overseas OT students.

Administrative Expertise
Program Convening; Course coordinating; Curriculum Development; Bachelor of Occupational Therapy Accreditation; Professional Placement Supervision and Monitoring.

I have been a team member on various research projects with people from within the University of Newcastle staff including Public Health, Speech Pathology and staff from Wollotuka and the Family Action Centre. This research has promoted cultural awareness and competence along with encourgaing social inclusion within the university community. I have also been involved in research with academics from Occupational Therapy programs from other universities in Australia, China and Iran. In addition, I have  collaborated with staff across the School of Health Sciences to enhance student learning, develop relevant assessments and develop meaningful and relevant curriculum.


  • Master of Educational Studies (TESOL), University of Newcastle
  • Diploma of Occupational Therapy, Cumberland College of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University
  • Post Graduate Diploma of TEFL, University of Sydney


  • Amputation
  • Burns
  • Communication
  • Cultural Competence
  • Enhancing Occupational Therapy Practice
  • Familiy/person-centred practice
  • Group Process
  • Occupational Therapy in Practice
  • Oncology
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychosocial Health
  • Reflection
  • Transitioning to Practice


  • English (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified 25
130199 Education Systems not elsewhere classified 25
130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development 50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2004 - 1/12/2005 Early Intervention Occupational Therapist University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences- Occupational Therapy
1/03/2003 - 31/12/2015 Lecturer University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
School of Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy
1/09/2002 - 1/12/2002 English Language Teacher University of Newcastle
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
1/03/2002 - 1/05/2002 Casual Lecturer Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
1/02/2002 - 1/10/2002 Casual Lecturer and Course Developer Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
1/01/2000 - 1/12/2000 Policy Developer and Project Officer Council on the Ageing
Reducing isolation of the elderly
1/09/1990 - 1/10/1997 Lecturer - English for Musical Purposes The University of Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
1/02/1989 - 1/06/1989 Lecturer - English for Science and Technology & Communication Hefei University of Technology
1/02/1986 - 31/01/1988 Lecturer - English for Science and Technology & Communication East China University of Chemical Technology
1/01/1974 - 31/12/2012 Membership - Occupational Therapy Australia Occupational Therapy Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/06/2008 - 1/12/2008 Visiting Academic University of Pretoria
South Africa
1/01/2000 - 1/12/2000 Paediatric Occupational Therapist P/T Hawkesbury Community Health Centre

Teaching appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/02/2008 - 1/06/2008 Lecturer South East University
Faculty of English, School of Foreign Languages



Year Award
2015 Community Engagement Award
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
2007 Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence and Learning Support
University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 3
Total funding $29,736

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20151 grants / $26,936

Expanding Occupational Therapy (OT) clinical placements to schools: feasibility, efficacy and sustainability.$26,936

Funding body: Mid North Coast Local Health District

Funding body Mid North Coast Local Health District
Project Team Associate Professor Alison Lane, Mrs Gjyn O'Toole, Ms Narelle Herbert
Scheme Hunter and Coast ICTN Research and Quality Improvement Small Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500755
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC

20071 grants / $1,700

14th International Conference on LEARNING, Johannesburg, RSA, 26/6/2007 - 29/6/2007$1,700

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Mrs Gjyn O'Toole
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2007
Funding Finish 2007
GNo G0187782
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20051 grants / $1,100

The First International Conference on Enhancing teaching and learning through assessment, 13-15 June 2005$1,100

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Mrs Gjyn O'Toole
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2005
Funding Finish 2005
GNo G0185438
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 11
Iran, Islamic Republic of 2
United States 1

Mrs Gjyn O'Toole


Senior Lecturer
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Occupational Therapy

Contact Details

Phone (02) 4921 6312
Fax (02) 4921 7053


Room HB04
Building Hunter Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308