PEARLS FROM THE TORRES STRAIT AND NORTHERN PENINSULA AREA
Deadly Health Jobs – inspiring the next generation of Indigenous health professionals
Posted On December 10, 2018
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Professionals make valuable contributions to healthcare across Australia through their clinical and cultural knowledge skills. Creating sustainable career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in the health sector is vital to help close the gap in Indigenous health outcomes. In an effort to close the gap, Generalist Medical Training provides funding for general practitioner trainees working in Indigenous communities and their cultural mentors to undertake an engagement activity with school students to increase awareness and foster interest in health careers.
1 Hand hygiene – students applied GlitterBug Potion to their hands which lights up under a UV light and mimics the distribution of germs. Even after washing their hands, commonly missed spots light up, highlighting the importance of good hand hygiene.
2 Plaster casts – students were taught how to apply a forearm plaster casts, by far the most popular station of the event!
3 Microscopy – students looked at various microscope slides such as red blood cells, yeast, hair and onion layers.
4 Fish hook removal – students learnt how to remove fish hooks from pork belly, a common occurrence in the Torres Straits!
5 Dental fillings – students were taught by our dental team how to prepare and fill a tooth cavity.
6 Personal protective equipment – students dressed up in gowns, gloves, hats and booties, learning about the importance of PPE in healthcare.
7 Thickened fluids – students had the opportunity to learn about and taste different thickened fluids.
8 Pig heart dissection – another very popular station, students learnt about the anatomy of the heart by dissecting real pig hearts!
Deadly Health Jobs was a hugely successful event! The three most popular activities were applying plaster casts, dissecting pig hearts and wearing personal protective equipment. Of the students who attended, 53% were inspired to consider a health career, 72% would like to attend the event again and 69% felt more comfortable attending the primary healthcare centre as a result of the event. This pilot program illustrates the feasibility of undertaking a successful health careers promotional events for Indigenous students. We hope to make this a yearly event for students on Thursday Island.
MD, BBioMed (Hons), DCH, DTM&H. Allison is an ACRRM Registrar currently working on Thursday Island. Her interests include public health, tropical medicine and medical education. You can find Allison on LinkedIn and Twitter (@Dr_Hempenstall).