31 May, 2021
Pittsworth students attend Aspire2Health workshop
Three grade 10 students from Pittsworth State High School considering a career in the health care industry joined 17 other high school students from around the region on Tuesday at the University of Queensland (UQ) Rural Clinical School’s Aspire2Health program to gain a greater understanding of regional and rural healthcare.
The program, which targets regional, rural and remote high school students who are interested in working in medicine, nursing or allied health, gave students the opportunity to witness an inter-professional scenario, hear from health professionals about their disciplines, and participate in clinical skills stations on plastering, suturing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and various other allied health skills.
UQ Rural Clinical School’s Toowoomba Director Dr Doogie Whitcombe said the program aims to support students in their career choices by providing them with a real world experience and the opportunity to speak with professionals in the field.
“We’re getting students from local schools to come and have a look at opportunities and careers in healthcare, and this program gives them a better idea of what lies ahead,” Dr Whitcombe said.
“We think all our careers are great careers and we want to encourage students to explore them as ideas, so we try to make the workshop fun and interactive.
“These careers are not for everyone so this gives students the opportunity to speak with a wide range of people to see if medicine and nursing and midwifery and all the rest of it is for them.”
UQ Rural Clinical School’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Academic Co-ordinator Samantha Ward added to Dr Whitcombe’s remarks and said the program also aims to teach students about the wide range of jobs available in the health care industry.
“It’s about the kids understanding that it takes a whole team to look after one person and trying to get that message across that there’s lots of different avenues in health care, it’s not just about doctors and nurses, there’s lots and lots of different areas that you can go into,” Ms Ward said.
“One of our main goals is to encourage students from rural areas to enter into health because we know that there’s limited health professionals that are out there in the bush, so we want those kids to choose a career in health and then to come back and work in our region.”
Ms Ward said they had a plethora of professionals come along to help run the workshop and make it the practical experience that it was.
“We have medical students from the University of Queensland and from Griffith University, we have nursing students from USQ, we have some paramedicine students who are here from the Australian Catholic University as well as health professionals from Southern Queensland Rural Health and a physiotherapist and some social workers from the Toowoomba Base Hospital.
Having the professionals present meant that students like Sophie Forde, Tristan Ennis and Mitchell O’Brien from Pittsworth State High School, who are interested in working in the fields of endocrinology, social work and medicine respectively, were able to gain a more solid understanding of a what a day as a healthcare professional can look like.
One way the program achieved this was by running realistic simulations with the help of paramedics, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.
These simulations took place at the beginning of the day and gave students the chance to see the process paramedics follow as first responders and understand what happens in a hospital setting after a patient is admitted.
Following the simulations students got the chance to gain a more concrete understanding of the different career opportunities within the health care industry by chatting with professionals.
Ms Ward said the highly educational and informative Aspire2Health program is run each year for students.
“We normally run two days here every year,” Ms Ward said.
“This year we’re running four days because we didn’t run any last year.
“Today we’ve got students from many schools including Pittsworth, Oakey, the Lockyer Valley and Plainlands, and yesterday we ran the same day with students from Toowoomba and we’ll run two more days with students from Toowoomba.
“Then we also go out to the regional areas to Kingaroy, Dalby, Chinchilla, Warwick, Stanthorpe, Roma and Charleville.
“We take medical students and nursing students and then we get involved with local paramedics and allied health professionals in those towns, again to really encourage local school children to come and learn about health in their area.”
The UQ Rural Clinical School works with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Rural Medical Education Australia, Griffith University, Southern Queensland Rural Health and The University of Southern Queensland to deliver the Apsire2Health workshops.
The collaboration also has support from the Darling Downs West Moreton Primary Health Network.