Teens gets a taste of medical life

17:00, Jun 12 2012
BRIGHT FUTURE: Pictured are (front left to right) Ahikaa Learning centre students Charlizza Harris, Sarah Parnell (Wellington Free Ambulance) with Holly Topp.

Becoming a doctor always seemed out of reach for Petone teenager Charlizza Harris.

But after getting a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at Wellington Hospital and speaking with staff the 18-year-old's career options have expanded.

"When you meet them you see that they're not hard out brainy, they're down to earth and they're really cool and they make it sound like it's not that hard, you can actually do it.

"For me, if someone said you can be a doctor, I would have said 'hell no' but seeing what they do and get the advice ... it sounds like pretty achievable.''

Charlizza was interested in becoming a therapist or psychologist prior to attending yesterday's Workchoice Day, where 100 students, mostly Year 12, worked in the same simulated medical environments as real medical professionals.

They plastered limbs, learnt CPR and heard from a range of people specialising in different areas of health.


Charlizza, a student at Ahikaa Learning Centre in Lower Hutt, said she found the paramedics interesting.

"You're not always in the comfort of a nice hospital room with lights and all the stuff ...  it sounds so much more adventurous.''

Hutt Valley High School student Nicole Astle said the hands-on experience had cemented her dream of carrying on a family tradition and becoming a nurse.

The 17-year-old's grandmother, mother and aunt had trained to be nurses.

"I used to bandage up my grandparents and stuff when I was about four years old.''

Winson Wong, 16, was puffed and red in the cheeks after practicing CPR on a dummy.

"It felt really weird for the first time because I wasn't sure how much pressure I would have to put on the dummy.''

The Hutt Valley High student said he would look into paramedic training as he found their job exciting.

Capital and Coast District Health Board participated in Workchoice Day to show teenagers that university is not the only way to get into a health profession.

There are so many high profile jobs in health - surgeons, doctors and nurses - that it can be easy to forget that there are over 7000 job titles, chief executive Mary Bonner said.

"By holding days like this, onsite at the hospital, we get to show these young people an entire world of opportunities that working in health can provide.''

Nurse educator Meg Martin was teaching students how to do CPR on a dummy with the aid of an automatic defibrillator.

"Hopefully it might give people the confidence to get in and do it if they haven't come across it before.''

Resuscitation specialist Carrie Philliskirk said it helped students understand that hospitals are not like those portrayed on television shows such as Shortland Street and Grey's Anatomy.

Contact Bronwyn Torrie
Health reporter
Email: bronwyn.torrie@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @brontorrie

The Dominion Post