USQ pupils will put studies in action in Thailand
IT WAS always on their wish list, to travel overseas to make a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate.
And next year, this group of USQ Ipswich students will do just that, when they put their studies into action as volunteer paramedics in northern Thailand.
Second-year paramedic students Jessica Rann, Kaitlin Doyle, Kathryn Martin, Alicia Cora, Natasha Bruce and Erica-Mai Trent will spend two weeks in Chiang Mai, where they will work with local health workers to provide extra health care to disadvantaged communities and develop advanced clinical skills.
Miss Rann said the Challenges Abroad program gives students unparalleled opportunities to learn new professional and life skills while being exposed to a different culture.
"It will be a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our skills in a real world environment and experience a healthcare system with scarce resources," she said.
"It will allow us to work outside our comfort zone and gain invaluable knowledge of how they operate in an emergency situation and difficult situations."
Over the two weeks, the students will work with a local organisation of "community emergency first responders" whose role is to support the Doi Saket Hospital paramedic service.
They will also be conducting first aid and first response workshop sessions, English medical vocabulary tutoring and a better understanding of assessment.
"The staff there are mostly volunteers and only get four hours of training as first responders a year, then they're out on the road and saving lives," Miss Rann said.
"It is a good opportunity for us to share the skills we have learnt at USQ that could help them to improve their pre-hospital procedures so they can continue offering their vital service to the local area."
Miss Doyle believed the volunteer experience would sharpen her problem-solving and critical thinking skills while giving her the confidence to make quick decisions.
"It is a great learning experience that not many people get the opportunity to be a part of," she said.
"Given the limited medical equipment and supplies, and the cultural and language barriers, we need to be really flexible and adapt quickly.
"We are all eager to learn more about overseas paramedicine and grateful to Challenges Abroad for this type of exposure while we are still studying."
To learn more about studying paramedicine at USQ, visit www.usq.edu.au /paramedicine.