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Hands-On Health Careers

21 November 2005

Hands-On Health Careers

A local team is taking a novel approach to boosting interest in careers which focus on health. The team have arranged a “reality” tour for Year 10 (4th form) students from five local secondary schools.

On Wednesday (23 November) the students will visit Whitireia Polytechnic for a first-hand look at paramedic training - complete with ambulance, clinical practice suite and practice labs, together with the mobile surgical bus. Students will see up-to-the-minute equipment and facilities, together with the skills and technology involved in modern health care.

“At a generic level, they will see the impact of science in our lives,” says Eldred Gilbert, the director of primary care nursing from Capital & Coast District Health Board.

The day is an attempt to encourage young people into the health services. ”The number of students enrolling for nursing and other health careers has not been growing as we would hope. So our aim for the day is to start a reversal of that trend,” adds Eldred Gilbert.

The idea is to show students the wide range of jobs on offer in the health sector, says Leanne Pool, programme leader of Undergraduate Studies in the Nursing Centre at Whitireia Polytechnic. “The average age of students enrolling in nursing programmes at Whitireia is 30 plus,” says Leanne, “and this is reflected in our hospitals.”

Youth educator Partner’s Porirua is another agency involved in organising the day. The agency runs the local Youth Transition Scheme, which aims to help young people consider their training and career options. “We have identified health as an area with many opportunities, yet it doesn’t feature highly as a desirable option for young people,” says Michelle Robinson, co-ordinator of Partner’s Porirua. “We hope the day will give health a higher profile as a career option and broaden the thinking of our local teenagers.”

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Organisers say the presence of the mobile surgical bus is a real coup. The bus is a specially equipped mobile operating theatre that provides day surgery in rural and other areas where travel to a hospital is an issue for patients. Interactive video links on the bus also allow surgeons to collaborate with colleagues around the country as they operate.

The 60 students who will visit Whitireia can expect a hands-on experience. They will take temperatures, blood pressure, and blood sugars, identify the bacteria on their hands, lift others using hoists and learn CPR. All of this before morning tea! The day will close around 12.30 with a presentation on health careers.

ENDS

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