A second grand promotional tour of the regions to encourage rural school pupils into rural health careers took place near the end of 2019.


Organised by the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network and supported by 40 medical, nursing and allied health students, the tour took in 40 rural schools, seven rural hospitals and 10 General Practices in Southland, South Otago, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, Coromandel, Waikato and Northland during a three-week period from 4-22 November.


The tertiary students spoke to mainly year nine and ten pupils about the possibility of careers in health in sessions which also allowed the pupils to have hands-on experience with instruments such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs as well as hear first-hand from the tertiary health students about their journey into their medical and health careers.


It followed a highly successful inaugural tour in June this year when similar visits were made to 36 rural high schools in Akaroa, Lincoln, Rolleston, Ellesmere, Ashburton, Methven, Darfield, Geraldine, Fairlie, Twizel, Timaru, Oamaru, Waimate, Palmerston, Ranfurly, Milton, Cromwell, Roxburgh, Dunstan, Wanaka, Otaki, Levin, Palmerston North, Taihape, Turangi and Taupo.


The visits are designed utilize current tertiary health students to get rural young people thinking about the possibilities of training to become health professionals – doctors, nurses, optometrists, physiotherapists, midwives, pharmacists and dentists. In arranging current health students to speak about their own experiences and ambitions, it is an important opportunity to inspire the next generation of rural health practitioners.


If we are to reverse a chronic shortage of healthcare professionals in rural communities, we must actively encourage young people from rural communities into health careers. Further tours are planned for 2020 and if you would like to know more about these please contact Esther Maxim at sorha@rgpn.org.nz

“The students absolutely LOVED this visit and interacting with the tertiary students. The interactive stuff was perfect. The staff were really impressed because generally when we have manuhiri they just stand and lecture and don’t really get to talk with the students. The group seemed really engaged with our students and they genuinely seemed to enjoy being with our students and engaging with them. We would love to host you guys whenever you come.”

“We would ABSOLUTELY love another visit! The staff were blown away by the organisation, professionalism and friendliness of the tertiary students. The activities they planned where engaging and our students thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The fact they had prizes to award through the PowerPoint was a real winner. From the perspective of Huntly College, it was a very positive and successful event and we would really love to have them back. Our students deserve the best, and it was great for them to be inspired by different careers they may not have ever imagined.”