Kruki Indigenous Summer School at the University of New England, Armidale

REAL-WORLD MEDICINE: Students assess a simulated patient who has been made-up with injuries under the guidance of emergency staff, Ben and Alison, who show pupils what to do once the patient arrives in the ED.
REAL-WORLD MEDICINE: Students assess a simulated patient who has been made-up with injuries under the guidance of emergency staff, Ben and Alison, who show pupils what to do once the patient arrives in the ED.

Future Indigenous doctors from across the state have spent a week living like first year medical students at the University of New England (UNE).

The program, Kruki Indigenous Summer School, is all about encouraging Indigenous students in Years 9 to 12 to consider a degree in medicine. 

Indigenous academic lecturer in UNE’s School of Rural Medicine (SRM), Lisa Shipley said this year 14 students from areas including Sydney, Tamworth and Wollongong participated.

“We are also keen to demonstrate to the parents the kind of support available through UNE’s Aboriginal centre, Oorala, and the SRM,” she said.

The program, now in its third year, is funded through a Higher Education Participation Grant from the Department of Education and Training, targeted at students with lower socioeconomic status.

“Medicine is daunting … and it’s aimed to break down those misconceptions about what it is to study medicine,” Ms Shipley said.

“We have a young Armidale girl who came to our first Kruki who is now enrolled in medicine.”

Project leader, Associate Professor Amanda Nagle said the aim is to increase the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students from regional and rural areas enrolling in the Joint Medical Program, which is delivered in partnership with the University of Newcastle, the Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Local Health Districts.

“They’ve been doing anatomy lectures over at the university and working in the anatomy lab on models,” she said. “They’ve been doing small group tutorial work where they focus on one problem for the week and the case they’ve got this week is of a person who has been hit by a car.

“The way we teach medicine is we focus on a problem and what they need to know in order to work with that problem.

“So they need to know about blood, shock, injuries, immediate first aid, what happens when that person comes into the emergency department … learning anatomy and physiology is all geared around that one problem.” Students also visited SportUNE and residential colleges to see what it’s like to live on campus.