University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.
University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.

Bananas and chicken legs get med students ready for COVID-19

STITCHING up a chicken leg and cannulating a banana may not be what medical students signed up for, but the practice was all part of their preparations for possible employment by NSW Health in hospitals to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic

University of Wollongong final-year medical students at Grafton Base Hospital part of an intensive, week-long boot camp to brush up on their clinical skills after expressing an interest in newly-created medicine roles that may be offered in NSW hospitals to final-year medical students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.
University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.

Due to social distancing requirements the workshop was delivered remotely, which presented a few challenges.

Instead of practising on special latex models the students raided the fridge and the fruit bowl to practice some of their techniques, suturing raw chicken legs and inserting cannulas into bananas.

Associate Professor Rowena Ivers, who oversees UOW's clinical placements program, said that although deployment during the pandemic was optional, students expressed enthusiasm about placement in hospitals and in assisting in the response to COVID-19.

"Having been placed in general practices and emergency departments around the state over the last 10 months, the UOW medical students are keen to step up to assist with the pandemic," Professor Ivers said.

University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.
University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.

Delivering the boot camp online to students spread across the state required some innovation from the UOW Graduate Medicine staff.

"Our team had to adapt to assisting the students to hone skills learnt over the last few years in their course, through delivering content in an online environment, including by teaching students to insert cannulas on fruit, and to suture chicken legs," Professor Ivers said.

The workshop consisted of online lectures and a one-day clinical skills workshop, including revision of skills already learnt, such as cannulation, suturing and Advanced Life Support, provided by UOW clinicians.

University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.
University of Wollongong students take part in a boot camp and practice skills such at suturing and cannulating on chicken legs and bananas.

UOW's Graduate Medicine program has a strong focus on preparing doctors to practise in regional, rural and remote settings.

The final year medical students have spent the last 10 months in emergency departments and general practices around New South Wales, in Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Milton-Ulladulla, Southern Highlands, Murrumbidgee, Murwillumbah, Lismore, Grafton, Mudgee, Forbes and Broken Hill.


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