Thursday, 15 September 2016

Passions & Pathways introduces students to health professions career

A group of local year six students became familiar faces around Monash Rural Health’s Bendigo site as part of an innovative primary school and workplace partnership program. Passions & Pathways, an initiative of local businesses, paved the way for a seven young Eaglehawk Primary School students to spend time at Monash Rural Health over four weeks.

Eaglehawk Primary School students suit up for a session in the simulation lab.

Goldfields Local Learning and Employment Network (GLENN) Executive Officer Anne Brosnan said Passions & Pathways helped to raise the aspirations of students from disadvantaged schools by immersing them in workplace environments and “teaching them new things.”

While the program relies on the co-operation of industry partners such as Monash Rural Health, Ms Brosnan said participation also provided benefits to employers of the workplaces involved.

“The industry partners who have come on this journey with us say that they love the chance to engage with these students before they transition to adolescence,” she said, adding that as the program progressed it was attracting increased attention from Bendigo employers.

Monash Rural Health Bendigo Lecturer Pam Harvey said this was the second year the clinical training site had been welcoming students and in 2016 participation in the program has been embedded into the paediatrics curriculum of its medical students.

“This program opens the primary students’ eyes to job and career opportunities but it also provides valuable teaching moments for our own students,” Ms Harvey said.

The primary school students’ visits to Monash Rural Health included time spent in its simulation laboratory, where they ‘suited up’ in appropriate medical attire and learn about identifying germs, bodies and the tools of the doctoring trade, as well tours of the training site and Bendigo Health.

Pam Harvey at the students' expo
“We hope that, through having these authentic experiences in local workplaces, students can see that these employers care about them and that this, in turn, helps students to value the ideas of learning, training and employment,” Ms Brosnan said.

During their time at Monash Rural Health students collected information for a presentation at their school in mid-September, attended by industry partners. “The feedback we hear is that this is a highlight for our own staff who attend,” said Ms Harvey. “This provides evidence of the connections and relationships which are formed as part of the program.”

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