Trying out a health career
Maori and Pacific Island teens are scrubbing up to help at Auckland Hospital as they preview careers in medicine.
The Rangatahi Programme is an Auckland District Health Board initiative to encourage Maori and Pacific Island secondary school students to pursue careers in the health sector.
Students are mentored by doctors, nurses and specialists as they undergo a week-long placement at hospitals within the Auckland DHB.
Carmel College and Hato Petera College are the only North Shore schools involved in the programme.
Hato Petera College this year rolled out its Health Sciences Academy to channel willing students into the medical industry.
Head girl Elizabeth Shelford Edwards, 17, is one of the first students to enrol and was the only North Shore teen in the latest Rangatahi intake.
"I've always wanted to be a doctor. Seeing so many Maori and Pacific Island people dying of diabetes and heart disease, you want to do something," she says.
Clocking in for her first day at 7am, Miss Shelford Edwards shadowed a Greenlane Hospital GP as he assessed outpatients and examined X-rays.
"I saw some pretty abnormal stuff, but it hasn't put me off," she says.
Auckland Hospital chief medical registrar Anthony Jordan then took Miss Shelford Edwards under his wing at Auckland Hospital.
Dr Jordan, who, has been a programme mentor for four years says it is always good to see Maori and Pacific Islanders coming through the ranks.
"I really enjoy it, giving people the opportunity to see a career that they might not otherwise be exposed to. Unless you're from a family of doctors, medicine is quite an exclusive profession," he says.
Weighing newborns, observing surgery and seeing bones realigned were among the students' highlights.
"Even though six years of study sounds a lot, this has fully confirmed that this is what I want to do," Miss Shelford Edwards says.
Auckland DHB associate director of nursing Lorraine Hetaraka-Stevens says almost every student has gone on to enrol in health-related tertiary study after completing their work experience.
"For us, it is a way of tracking and monitoring our early investments," she says.
Go to rangatahiprog ramme.co.nz for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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