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Turrbal and Jagera Country
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Brisbane QLD 4000
From Friday 9 September to Sunday 11 September, 27 health students will head to the Northern Queensland communities of Atherton, Mareeba and Ravenshoe where they will participate in Health Workforce Queensland’s (HWQ) GROW Rural Program which will take place in Northern Queensland for the first time. This new cohort will participate in GROW Rural North Queensland (GROW Rural NQ) each year for the next three years.
GROW Rural is an initiative of HWQ, a not for profit, non-Government Rural Workforce Agency for primary health workforce in Queensland, focused on ensuring remote, rural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities have access to highly skilled health professionals when and where they need them, now and into the future. We would like to extend our appreciation to our Event Partner, Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) who will support this exciting program for the next three years.
GROW Rural is the collaborative approach taken by Health Workforce Queensland when working with participating communities, service providers and health professionals to take the lead on program development and facilitation. Importantly, GROW Rural’s whole of community approach offers community members, organisations and service providers the opportunity to participate in growing their region’s future workforce.
GROW Rural NQ presents first-year medical, nursing, midwifery, dentistry and allied health students with a unique experience to develop familiarity and a deeper understanding of the potential of a professional and personal life they could have working in rural Queensland. By cultivating strong connections with the health workforce community and the broader community, the GROW Rural program encourages health students to return to rural communities for their clinical placements and to consider rural practice as a future career opportunity.
HWQ Future Workforce Team Leader, Meredith Connor said that “the level of interest from the students to be part of the North Queensland program was fantastic with over 90 applications being received for the 25 places on offer. We were so impressed with the high standard of applicants and their enthusiasm for the opportunities GROW Rural NQ offers that we increased the number of places from 25 to 27.”
During the 2022 GROW Rural NQ program, students will:
Visit local health services and facilities ;
Participate in clinical skill sessions with local health professionals ;
Learn about Indigenous culture through dance and activities;
Be billeted by local families ;
Share dinner with billet families and guests at the Feast of the 50…Growing the North Together dinner which will showcase locally sourced food and speakers ; and
Explore the natural wonders the region offers .
HWQ CEO, Chris Mitchell said “we are delighted to be taking the GROW Rural Program to Northern Queensland following the success of the program in Central Queensland and South West Queensland. It is great to see such enthusiasm from our future remote and rural health workforce and we are so pleased that we are able to partner with NQPHN and work with the communities and key stakeholders in Northern Queensland to provide workforce solutions.”
NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said NQPHN was impressed with the applicants’ calibre and interest in the program. She said providing health services in regional, remote, and rural communities was a challenge, but the program would offer some relief to the communities of Atherton, Mareeba, Ravenshoe, and Herberton.
Ms Whyte said the program would involve students making commitments for three years with all travel, accommodation, and catering covered by HWQ. “GROW Rural students will come together annually for three consecutive years to learn from and be part of selected North Queensland rural communities,” Ms Whyte said.
“We hope after qualifying, some, if not many, of the students will be encouraged to return to these rural communities and provide vital professional health services.”
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HWQ is a not for profit, non-Government Rural Workforce Agency (RWA) for primary health workforce in Queensland, focused on making sure remote, rural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities have access to highly skilled health professionals when and where they need them, now and into the future.
Health Workforce Queensland Vision is to ensure an optimal health workforce to enhance the health of Queensland communities.
To achieve this Vision, Our Purpose is to create sustainable health workforce solutions that meet the needs of remote, rural, regional and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities challenged by a supply shortage of health professionals.
NQPHN is an independent not for profit organisation, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
NQPHN aims to improve health outcomes for all by working with GPs, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, allied health professionals, secondary care providers, hospitals, and the wider community.
Across Northern Queensland, from Sarina in the south to the Torres Strait in the north, NQPHN commissions primary and preventative health care – that is, the health care that takes place outside of a hospital – to help ensure North Queensland communities live happier, healthier, and longer lives.
For more information on NQPHN, visit their website.