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Tertiary Students Encourage Rural Health Careers In Auckland, Waikato

In a bid to tackle the severe lack of health professionals in rural communities, a team of tertiary students are heading to country areas south of Auckland to promote rural health careers to high school students.

They are trying to inspire more young rural people to pursue careers as GPs, nurses, or other health practitioners as part of Hauora Taiwhenua’s nationwide Rural Health Careers Programme.

Hauora Taiwhenua Chief Executive Dr Grant Davidson highlights that international research shows students from rural areas are more likely to return and serve their communities post-graduation – a point crucial in addressing the severe shortage faced by many rural areas in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Currently, we depend heavily on overseas doctors to fill our rural workforce gaps. The sustainable solution, however, is to educate more doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals locally. We must equip and encourage them to serve in our rural regions."

"This program is a pivotal step towards engaging rural youth in healthcare careers."

Using the energy and enthusiasm of tertiary students on health training pathways is a great way to expose rural youth to possible health careers. Providing the opportunity for youth in rural areas to discuss career options with tertiary students near their own age is a great way to motivate and educate them.

It is also a practical way for tertiary health students to give back, with many from rural backgrounds sharing their real-life experiences.

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Nicole Cochius, a Paramedicine student on the April programme, spoke to the need to encourage and empower our rural rangatahi to take each opportunity as they come.

“Our rural communities are the heart of our country, but they are often ignored for the greater regions.”

“The kids in these schools deserve the same opportunities to talk about their hopes and dreams of being in medicine as every other. These kids are some of the most passionate out there, as they see the disparity between big cities and our small towns in being able to seek medical help, they want to make a change for the better.”

The workshops are interactive, giving hands-on experience with medical and dental equipment and a chance to talk first-hand with young people who have already embarked on this journey.

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