Rural Health Career Promotion Tours Help Grow Future Health Workforce

Over the next two weeks, 32 tertiary health students
(four teams of eight tertiary students) will be touring the
country to promote health careers to over 2000 rural school
pupils as part of the New Zealand Rural General Practice
Network’s (Network) concerted effort to grow a robust
future health workforce.

In groups, the tertiary
students will visit rural schools in Canterbury, Southland
& Otago, Waikato, and Northland to share their knowledge
and experience studying health and inspire the students to
pursue careers in health.

In this first round of
school visits for the year, the students will be visiting 38
schools including several schools we’ve haven’t visited
before, particularly in areas with higher populations of
Māori students.

Around 300 year 9-13 pupils will also
be visited at schools in Northland, including two Kura
Kaupapa Māori, by tertiary students from the Grassroots
Rural Health Club during their noho marae.

During the
visits, the students will host interactive health career
workshops giving pupils hands-on experience with medical
equipment with the aim of inspiring them to study health
when they leave school.

The students will share
information about the range of health disciplines they
study, which this year includes medicine, nursing,
dentistry, audiology, psychology, and

Through stories and advice, the
students will reveal not only the opportunities in health
but also showcase health as a positive and viable career
pathway for rural young people no matter where they

Our hope is that after the rural health career
sessions, pupils will feel equipped to make informed
decisions about future careers in health.

The rural
school visits are a renowned activity of the Rural Health
Careers Promotion Programme, led by the Network in
partnership with Students of Rural Health Aotearoa (SoRHA)
and funded by the Ministry of Health.

This year 150
tertiary students applied to be involved in the rural school
visits which provide a valuable opportunity for them to
return to their own schools and feel empowered by sharing
their experiences.

During these trips they will also
be visiting several local health providers to meet with
health professionals and learn about the reality of rural
community health.

These experiences help the tertiary
students foster connections within rural communities where
they may consider working when they graduate.

programme is integral to the Network’s efforts to address
the chronic health workforce shortages throughout New
Zealand, which are being felt acutely in rural

Through the NZLocums & NZMedJobs team, the
Network recruits international doctors and nurse
practitioners, for short and long-term placements, which
help provide immediate support for under-staffed rural

However, the Network acknowledges that
the long-term solution to this crisis requires us to train
more doctors here in New Zealand and prepare them to work
rurally where they are needed most.

Through the Rural
Health Careers Promotion programme, the Network’s goal is
to ensure that we have an enthusiastic, resilient, and
robust rural health workforce in the future.

This year
there are another six rural school tours in the pipeline for
August and November with 80 possible schools to be visited
during this time.

The New Zealand Rural General
Practice Network is transitioning to the new collective
organisation Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network, which
launches in Parliament on Tuesday 28 June 2022.

will become a chapter of Hauora Taiwhenua and will continue
to run the Rural Health Careers Promotion Programme with the
support of a larger and more connected rural

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