Sydney team place second in National Health Challenge

2 September 2011

The University of Sydney student interprofessional health care team came second at the National HealthFusion Team Challenge (Oz HFTC) held on Friday 26 August, at the University of Queensland.

The National HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC) is a competition for health professional students to demonstrate their expertise in interprofessional collaborative care. Students are required to develop a management plan for a client with complex needs and present this at the competition.

The University of Sydney inter-professional health team consisted of students drawn from Nursing, Medicine and Health Sciences, and despite strong competition from seven other Australian universities, they were awarded second place.

Team members included;

  • Cameron Dunn - Medicine
  • Linda Xu - Physiotherapy
  • Louise Kan - Nursing
  • Lluisa Murray - Occupational Therapy
  • Lucy Kaan - Speech Pathology
  • Siwei Hu - Exercise & Sport Science

Left to Right: Linda Xu, Lluisa Murray, Louise Kan, Lucy Kaan, Cameron Dunn, Siwei Hu and Dr Christopher Gordon
Left to Right: Linda Xu, Lluisa Murray, Louise Kan, Lucy Kaan, Cameron Dunn, Siwei Hu and Dr Christopher Gordon

The team fitted in time for pre-competition presentation preparation around their competing examination and assignment schedules. Dr Christopher Gordon from Sydney Nursing School accompanied the team to Brisbane. According to Dr Gordon, the team worked until 2am on their case presentation, 'rehearsing and refining to ensure that the key features of the case were prominent and that the team dynamics were evident.'

The clinical case study given to all the student participants was about Stephen, a 23 year old Aboriginal man who was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained significant brain and chest trauma. After a long and complicated hospitalisation, Stephen spent time in an inpatient rehabilitation unit before discharge home. The students' teams were constituted as an interprofessional community outreach team tasked with providing support to young people with severe or enduring health problems. Stephen's case included numerous on-going medical, family and social issues that the teams had to prioritise and address.

The initial task for the students was to conduct a 5 min interview with Stephen's mother, Melinda. The team had a short preparation time and needed to work out the logistics of interviewing Melinda to gain the most crucial information about Stephen's family's needs and concerns. Dr Gordon considered that 'this was a very difficult task and the students applied themselves admirably'.

Following this, the University of Sydney students presented their management plan for Stephen to a live audience and judges. The team did an excellent job and greatly impressed the judges and audience who responded enthusiastically.

Throughout the day the student teams participated in other team-based activities prior to the final.

The University of Sydney, Deakin University, and the University of Queensland were selected for the final based on the combined scores of the judges who included national and international experts in interprofessional health and Aboriginal health. The finals consisted of another 5 min presentation, with follow up questions and a physical challenge. Following deliberation, the judges announced that Deakin University had won with University of Sydney a very close second.

Overall it was great event with the students performing admirably. One of the Sydney students said, 'this experience has provided a greater motivation to work in health care and not be afraid to do it with some individuality'.

The standard of competition was high according to Dr Gordon. 'Placing second in this national competition demonstrates the students' hard work and commitment to interprofessional teamwork. They made me immensely proud'.