NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern
NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern

Chinchilla’s brightest become medical professionals for a day

ASPIRING medical students at Chinchilla State High School took park in the annual Aspire2Health program today, giving them a taste of life as a medical professional.

Queensland Rural Medical Education CEO Megan O’Shannessy said the program had been designed to reflect the huge diversity in health careers and helps students embark on a life-changing yet rewarding pathway.

“These students will finish the day knowing much more about the various health careers available, what university courses are on offer and how they navigate their learning journey,” Ms O’Shannessy said.

“We’re keen to meet and talk to the students – they are potentially the next generation of health professionals who will build the health system of the future.”

BRIGHT FUTURES: Far left: Katie Fitzgerald. Second left: Cameron Rowling. Far right: Keegan Luckraft. Pic: Peta McEachern
BRIGHT FUTURES: Far left: Katie Fitzgerald. Second left: Cameron Rowling. Far right: Keegan Luckraft. Pic: Peta McEachern

Participating in the Aspire2Health program, year-11-student Katie Fitzgerald said she has always known she was destined to work as a medical professional.

“I’m hoping to be in a paramedic role, or the emergency department,” she said.

“I just like helping people, and the fact that I can be hands on a deal with other serious scenarios, and pressure – it interests me.”

Although faced with hypothetical scenarios during the program, Katie said she’s had to face some pretty tough ones in her real life, that have only made her more resilient and determined to help others.

“I had a 10-year-old girl dislocate her elbow, and it was popping out of the other side of her arm… I also saved someone from drowning,” she said.

Katie said another defining moment in her life which ignited her desire to help others, was when a family member was struggling with mental health and tried to take their own life.

“Seeing how all the nurses were working together in intensive care, it just really got me into the mindset of helping other people like they did.

“And it’s very rewarding seeing the outcome as well, it’s great to see.”

During the day’s activities Katie said she loved, “getting an insight into all the different aspects of health you can get into, and first hand experiences of what can happen.”

NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern
NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern

Year-10-student Keegan Luckraft said he loved being involved in the program as he plans to study radiology at QUT after finishing high school.

“It seems like a great field of work… it’s very broad and interesting and very physics based which I really enjoy, and you can stem off into a lot of different directions.”

Cameron Rowling, 15, said his favourite part of the day, “was definitely the activities and talking to each individual in their profession – there was an exercise physiologist, midwife, paramedic, professor, and an otolaryngologists.”

“I’d like to go to UQ and study rehabilitation… just to help someone who can’t do anything get back to who they were, and it would be rewarding as well.”

NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern
NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern

Southern Queensland Rural Health Director Associate Professor Geoff Argus said the Aspire2Health program targeted high school students who are interested in working in medicine, nursing or allied health and gives them a full immersion into regional and rural healthcare.

“The workshop gives regional, rural and remote high school students the opportunity to experience some aspects of healthcare delivery in a practical sense,” Mr Argus said.

“The students participate in clinical skills stations on plastering, suturing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and various allied health skills.

“During the day workshop students also meet local health professionals and have a hands-on session during a simulated scenario of patient care.

“At Chinchilla there are a total of 15 year 10 students taking part in Aspire2Health and all have expressed an interest in a health career.

“Research has shown that students who come from a rural area are more likely to return to practice rurally so bringing these workshops to regional and rural Southern Queensland creates a pathway for health career choices and eventually emerging rural health professionals.”

NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern
NEXT GENERATION: Aspire2Health program at Chinchilla State High School on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Pic: Peta McEachern

The Aspire2Health program is made possible by a range of departments working together to ensure aspiring students across the Darling Downs and South West, are given the right information and guidance to follow their medical dreams.

Those departments include the; Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Queensland Rural Medical Education, Griffith University, University of Queensland Rural Clinical School Toowoomba, University of Southern Queensland, Southern Queensland Rural Health, and the Darling Downs West Moreton Primary Health Network.


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