Featured News JCU helps school students experience the life of everyday heroes

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020

JCU helps school students experience the life of everyday heroes

Two female students wearing full medical scrubs, hold instruments to a mannequin and look at a screen out of shot. a practicing nurse is with them and also looking up at the screen
Mater Hospital staff Claire Benincasa and Therese Rankine take Bowen State High School student Hannah-Jane Jensen and Mackay North State High School student Nicole Mtali through the intricacies of working in health care.

James Cook University is giving high school students the chance to don scrubs and do hospital rounds to see what it’s like to be an everyday hero.

More than 50 students in Year 11 and Year 12 from Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton have been exploring careers in medicine, nursing and allied health as part of the Heroes in Health program, a joint collaboration between JCU and the Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

JCU Future Students Manager Regina Blackburn said the program is about taking students behind-the-scenes so they can see what it’s really like to work in healthcare.

“They’ll learn things like hygiene and gowning, and experience simulations such as CPR and wound dressing,” she said. “They’ll also have the opportunity to speak directly with health professionals to be inspired about their career journey and open their eyes to other career ideas they previously didn’t know about.”

Bowen State High School Deputy Principal Robert Harris said the Heroes in Health program was a great way for students to get a real understanding of potential careers.

“This takes the students beyond what they might see in a TV show or movies and into the real world of health care,” he said.

“They gain insights they wouldn’t have had before and get to connect with health professionals. When it comes time to choose what to study, they already have this experience under their belts and can make better informed decisions.”

Mater Health Regional Executive Director, North and Central Queensland Gerard Wyvill said Mater is proud to partner with James Cook University to facilitate the Heroes in Health events.

“It provides a unique opportunity for secondary school students in our region to experience health, outside of a classroom and in a clinical setting,” he said.

“We hope that initiatives like these will help grow our future health workforce, particularly those residing in regional Queensland.”

Ms Blackburn said despite the difficulties in providing practical experiences to high school students due to COVID-19, students continue to prioritise university education.

“We’ve seen an increase in applications,” she said. “More than 820 Year 12 students have put JCU as their first preference for non-quota courses, an increase of 150 per cent from last year.

“Year 12 students have done it tough this year, but they’re a smart cohort who want to develop the skills and knowledge to be part of the economic recovery.”

The program has been running in Mackay since 2019, and this year expanded to include Townsville and Rockhampton, with and Cairns and Mount Isa scheduled to join in 2021.

Ms Blackburn said the Heroes in Health program had been such a success it was being expanded to include Heroes in Business.

“Students really enjoy the experience and we want to be able to provide that to more students around the region who are interested in careers in health or business,” she said.

“The Heroes in Business program will kick off in October and provide students with a taste of what it’s really like to pursue a career in business, finance, law and tourism. From this they’ll gather the knowledge and inspiration to confidently set career goals and work to achieve them.”

For more information about Heroes in Health, visit study.jcu.edu.au/HEROProgram and for Heroes in Business, visit study.jcu.edu.au/BusinessHeroes


Regina Blackburn

JCU Future Students Manager