Students get a taste of medicine at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg


Students at Shalom College have been given a rare insight into the dynamic and fast-paced world of healthcare, as part of Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg’s Health Exposure Program.

It is the first time Mater Education has offered the immersive experience to Bundaberg students, giving them an opportunity to explore the different career pathways on offer at Mater’s hospitals.

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said Mater is keen to encourage local students to pursue careers across the broad spectrum of healthcare, including its support roles.

“We know students are presented with a lot of choice around their career opportunities and it can be a difficult decision to make, particularly without having proper exposure to the profession they’re considering,” Ms Hackney said.

“What we want to do is improve their understanding of healthcare through experience, give them a safe space to ask questions, and help them to see firsthand how rewarding it is to be part of a hospital team, all while hopefully motivating them to consider a career in healthcare.”

The program is inspired by Mater Education’s existing High School Health Adventure Program on offer in Brisbane and Townsville.

Shalom College Pathways Coordinator Liza O’Donnell said 28 Shalom students from across years 10, 11 and 12 have benefited from the program.

“Mater’s dedication to showcasing diverse opportunities, directly inspired our students to consider, evaluate, imagine, and pursue their passions within the health industry,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“Mater’s commitment to education is truly appreciated, and together, we work towards contributing to future health industry staff. Shalom College sincerely thank Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg for their support.”

As part of the program, students have toured the hospital, explored procedure rooms and participated in some basic simulation activities with manikins.

Students have also met Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg employees, including medical officers, nurses, allied health professionals, IT and administration officers and maintenance personnel, who shared their experience working as part of the greater hospital team, while also providing an opportunity for the students to ask questions.

Year 11 student Saije Jensen wants to be a nurse when she graduates, and said the experience was a wonderful opportunity to develop a better understanding of what a role in healthcare really involves.

“Most people in my family have had some sort of nursing experience, so it’s an area I’m really interested in,” Ms Jensen said.

“I’ve always been passionate about helping people which is what made me consider a career in nursing – experiences like this where we are able to meet people who are in these roles and try some practical skills were great for me to know this is what I want to do after high school.”

Year 11 student Ava Philips already knew she wanted to be a midwife – but meeting nursing staff and educators cemented this future career for her.

“I do think we are the healthcare workers of the future; we are all interested in different areas from medicine to nursing and midwifery, so this experience has something for all of us,” Ms Philips said.

“It’s really interesting seeing everything behind the scenes because when you come in as a visitor or patient, you don’t realise exactly how much is involved behind the scenes or all of the different areas involved.”

Ms Hackney said the feedback from Shalom College and its students has been overwhelmingly positive and has laid the foundation for education expansion opportunities in the future.

“Mater is committed to fostering the next generation of healthcare workers and is continually looking at opportunities to expand its education initiative,” Ms Hackney said.

“The expansion of Mater Education’s Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) program is one opportunity we’re considering, which would see Bundaberg students in Years 10, 11 and 12 gain nationally recognised qualifications, so they can graduate high-school qualified and job-ready.

“It’s early stages, but very exciting.”

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