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School students try hands-on healthcare

06 September 2022

At Tauranga Hospital, a high school student is carefully wrapping a bandage around a badly injured foot.

School students try hands-on healthcare
Student Kauri Barbarich is carefully wrapping a bandage around a model foot.

The result looks pretty good – apart from the half-severed toe dangling out the side of the bandage.

“You’re a natural,” says Registered Nurse Joanna Hart.

The student is Kauri Barbarich from Mount College, the foot is a model used for training purposes, and the bandaging session is part of a programme to encourage young people into medicine.

“I want to be a neurosurgeon or anaesthetist,” says year-11 student Kauri.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work hard for since year 9.

“I’d like to help people, and I figure it would be an achievement to go to uni and get qualified.”

Kauri was among 28 students to attend a half-day session at Tauranga Hospital recently, with another 26 students attending a session at Whakatāne Hospital.

Some very helpful nurses at both hospitals guided the students through a range of practical tasks.

The sessions are part of a collaboration between the Auckland University’s Whakapiki Ake Project and Te Pare o Toi’s Te Whe Programme.

Te Pare o Toi Kia Ora Hauora Coordinator Teringamau Tane says the sessions help to ‘normalise’ the idea of going to university and becoming a health professional.

“The students get to see that staff are ordinary people just like them,” she says.

“It’s hands-on, and everyone’s very excited – including the nurses.”

The Whakapiki Ake Project engages with rangatahi Māori students throughout much of the North Island.

The aim is to promote health as a career through the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Manager Kanewa Stokes says continuity is an important part of the project.

“When you become interested in a career in health, the subjects you’re doing at school become very important – you need to be taking ideally at least two science subjects.

“If five or six of these students become interested, then that would be great.”

Judging by Kauri’s comments, the sessions are working well.