Students team up to tackle national health care competition

27 June 2013

2013 University of Sydney Health Care Team Challenge
2013 University of Sydney Health Care Team Challenge

A team of students from the Faculties of Pharmacy, Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery and the Sydney Medical School will take their combined skills to Queensland to participate in the national Health Care Team Challenge (HCTC) finals in August.

After taking out the University of Sydney competition in May, Michelle Ren (Pharmacy), Sally Dickson (Physiotherapy), Monique Helmers (Speech Pathology), Myfanwy Pennells (Nursing and Midwifery) and Izak Van Der Walt (Medicine) - collectively, The Flaming Reds - will now take on teams from around Australia at the Queensland University of Technology on Friday 30 August.

The HCTC is a unique annual competition, allying students from different disciplines into teams to reflect the changing nature of professional healthcare by encouraging and rewarding collaboration.

Even though it was the first time Pharmacy took part in the event, there was great level of interest from its students, with eight students selected from 20 applicants.

Associate Professor Tim Chen of the Faculty of Pharmacy was a member of the judging panel in the University of Sydney competition and praised the impressive knowledge and teamwork displayed by the competitors.

"All of the teams performed really well, it was close competition," said Associate Professor Chen.

"It was outstanding to see pharmacy students clearly demonstrating their willingness and ability to work in teams and also share their expert knowledge about medicines management," he said.

A total of 42 students, divided into eight teams competed at the University's competition, held at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Each team was required to present a case management plan relating to a hypothetical patient called 'Anh', a 55-year-old female Vietnamese inpatient at a major Sydney rehabilitation hospital.

The multidisciplinary teams were tasked with developing a comprehensive plan for 'Anh' during her rehabilitative phase.

"The opportunity to work in multidisciplinary health teams to best manage patient care should prepare the students well for their future careers, where working in such teams is critical for effective patient-focused care," said Associate Professor Chen.

"The Challenge is a novel way to get them thinking outside of their specific areas of expertise and learn firsthand about other disciplines, which is really important to effective modern healthcare practice," he said.

The Flaming Reds will now prepare for the national competition, with Associate Professor Chen, Dr Chris Gordon (Nursing and Midwifery) and Associate Professor Christine Jorm (Medicine) serving as mentors.

"It's a great initiative and we hope our faculty can be involved in future years," said Associate Professor Chen.

"Congratulations to all of the Sydney competitors and good luck to the team in the national finals."

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Contact: Chris Beaumont

Phone: 02 9351 2311

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