UWS Wins Trans Tasman HealthFusion Challenge
What would you do? A flood emergency hits and a town has been evacuated to a showground hall where emergency assistance is not expected for two days, and access to a GP and rural fire brigade services are possible via mobile phone only. At the Trans Tasman HealthFusion Challenge, the UWS team delivered a presentation that they worked on together prior to the event. They also completed activities and answered questions about this complex disaster scenario with little notice on the day.
A team of UWS students accepted the challenge and, after working together for four weeks, headed to Brisbane to compete against six other universities: Deakin University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney and University of Queesnsland. After a full day of presentations and challenges, UWS was named as the winning team.
The team comprised Alan Dyason, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery; Nirav Patel, Bachelor of Nursing; Mauli Trivedi, Master of Physiotherapy; Heidi Jennings, Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)/Master of Podiatric Medicine; Elham Zolfaghari, Bachelor of Psychology; and Kate Thomson, Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Alan says participating in the challenge gave him the opportunity to meet other students studying in other health disciplines. "It was a great experience of approaching health issues as a multidisciplinary team rather than the siloed approach a discipline-specific method takes," he says.
"The scenario really made us think about our roles, not only as health professionals but as people," says Heidi. "We weren't confined to our own individual health roles – we were people with a little more training than the average person. You also get personal experience in seeing how patient outcomes can be positively impacted when multiple health professionals are involved."
Elham recommends participating in the Challenge to other like-minded students. "Working in a multidisciplinary group and seeing how an integrated healthcare system functions is important and develops skills such as negotiation, being assertive and thinking creatively," she explains.
For Kate, participating in the Challenge not only opened her eyes to working alongside other healthcare professionals – it's also helped her make a big decision for the future of her studies and her career. "When participating in the challenge in Brisbane, I met a girl who studied midwifery," she says. "She really inspired me and made me think how I could utilise my Traditional Chinese Medicine skills and complement this with the skills of midwifery. I am now going to apply next year to study a Bachelor of Midwifery at UWS."
"It is a great opportunity to have fun, engage in extra-curricular activities, network and it opens the gates to different avenues," says Nirav. "One thing I'll take away from the experience is how to work under pressure."
All of the students enjoyed the challenge so much that they have formed a new UWS club, UWS Synergy, to extend their experience and provide students from the disciplines of medicine, nursing and allied health with the opportunity to study cases from within a multidisciplinary framework. "We meet up regularly to discuss patient cases that we come across in our own clinical experience," says Kate.
17 December 2013
Words: Rachel Falzon
Contact: Tanya Patterson, Media Officer