Sarah Olson

CAREERS CORNER

Former WHS students contributing to the international community:

Sarah Olson                         

Profession: Neurosurgeon

Attended Westland High School: 1983 – 1989

Vocational Pathway:

Sarah is a fifth generation West Coaster, attending Hokitika Primary and Westland High School.

She always had a strong interest in mathematics, science and music and knew at a very young age she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Sarah saw it as the hardest thing in medicine to do and she wanted to see if she could do it!

After Otago Medical School, Sarah moved to Townsville, worked in outback towns and then started on neurosurgery training. The first exam had a 17% pass rate and then she commenced 100-hour weeks in training. Any extra time was spent studying.  Sarah was posted to Auckland then Brisbane then Melbourne. Finally, she finished some extra training in Toronto Canada. Her husband is a doctor too and they, with their three children, are now settled in Brisbane but Hokitika is always home! Sarah plays the piano, and is currently finishing her Diploma in Classical Piano which Hokitika music teacher, Jessica McMillan, started her on many years ago!

Sarah’s impressive CV includes:

  • a neurosurgeon at three hospitals
  • Vice President of the neurosurgery society of Australasia
  • Surgical Education and training board member for Australasia 
  • Previous director of neurosurgery Princess Alexandra Hospital

And chair Neurosurgery society of Queensland 

  • Chair of the multidisciplinary brain tumour clinic 
  • Member of the gamma knife and deep brain stimulation

clinical delivery team princess Alexandra hospital 

  • Bio banking project team member 
  • Adjunct research Diamantina institute
  • Winner Peter leech prize in neurosurgery
  • Winner marshal prize in surgical training 
  • Pride of Australia 2016 finalist