Programme promotes rural health careers

Hands-on. . . St Peter’s College pupils learn more about sorting pills, using lollies, during a workshop led by University of Auckland School of Pharmacy students Amina Khalid (left) and Amanda Su. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

St Peter’s College pupils have had a hands-on opportunity to learn more about a career in health.
A team of tertiary students visited the school last week as part of Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network’s nationwide rural health careers programme.
The programme aims to interest rural young people in a career in health to help deal with the severe shortage of health professionals in rural communities.
The pupils were able to take part in interactive activities and had the chance to talk to young people who had started their healthcare career journeys.
Hauora Taiwhenua chief executive Dr Grant Davidson said international research indicated a higher likelihood of students from rural backgrounds coming back and contributing to their rural communities after graduating.
‘‘Right now, we’re relying on doctors from other countries to fill the gaps in our rural workforce.
‘‘But the real solution for the long run is to train more doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers here in New Zealand.
‘‘We need to get them ready and excited to work in our rural areas.”
University of Otago School of Medicine student Kay Harper is leading the group as they visit eight secondary schools throughout Otago and Southland.
Ms Harper said the seven people on the team were volunteers.
‘‘We are interested in promoting health and particularly rural health.’’
The students were studying pharmacy, paramedicine, speech language or nursing in institutions throughout New Zealand.
She was pleased to see how engaged the pupils were.
St Peter’s College careers adviser Anne Perniskie said it was good to have the students visit the school.
The pupils were very interested in the activities, which included wound dressing, pill sorting and blood pressure checks, she said.