In a bid to tackle the severe lack of health professionals in rural communities, a team of tertiary students is heading to Waikato and 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 CE, Dr Grant Davidson stated, “the current state of the rural healthcare workforce is in dire need of attention. The best long-term solution to this issue is to train more doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals within New Zealand and encourage them to practice in rural areas.”
“Undoubtedly there are a number of challenges, but without providing the opportunity to our youth realising that health careers are a real option for them and putting their hands up, then the outcome will be the same dire shortage”.
Having tertiary students on health training pathways is a great way to expose rural youth to possible health careers. Discussing their opportunities 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 being from rural backgrounds sharing their real-life experiences.
Courtney Bond, a Nursing Student on the 2022 programme, spoke about the benefit of going face-to-face with these smaller communities and empowering the students and their experiences.
“I found this trip really rewarding and eye opening, especially engaging with an array of different people across different parts of the country.”
“It has taught me why it is so important to give back to these small rural communities and reinforced the importance of why should be promoting health care in these communities.”
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.