Over 10,000 Transition Year and 5th Year students from across the Mid-West region virtually attended the Junior Health Sciences Academy ‘Early Careers’ Event on March 1st and 2nd. The Health Sciences Academy, a partnership between the University of Limerick, UL Hospitals Group and Mid-West Community Healthcare, with their partners for this project: Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Schools Division and Limerick Education Centre, worked to organise and deliver this very successful event.
The concept was developed as a collaborative response to reach out to schools and students, particularly those students in Transition Year, who cannot visit hospitals or other clinical settings for work experience. It was designed to be as informative and interactive as possible, showcasing healthcare as a possible career path for Transition Year students. The event was informed by previous events held in University Hospital Limerick and University of Limerick, desktop research, focus groups of students and teachers in Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board schools and the wider involvement of Limerick Education Centre.
Delivered virtually via Zoom, the ‘Early Careers’ event provided students with an insight into healthcare as a career and a programme of study. Perspectives from clinical staff working in both acute and community settings, students studying in University of Limerick and academic staff, provided students with an insight into their ‘day in the life’, career and University highlights and advice for anyone considering a future in healthcare. A combination of live presentations, videos, interactive online discussions, panellist and live questions & answers facilitated a highly enjoyable event.
Over 10,000 students attended over the two days, hearing from staff and students in the areas of nursing & midwifery, paramedic studies, medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, human nutrition & dietetics and clinical psychology. They also heard from clinical staff working in UL Hospitals Group in the areas of podiatry, radiography, medical social work and laboratory science, as well as a community pharmacist. The ‘Early Careers’ event also included very enjoyable ‘fireside chats’ with Spin SouthWest radio presenter Louise Cantillon, former GAA Hurler Joe Canning, Rugby World Cup winner with Springboks and Munster Rugby Damian De Allende, as well as Sarah Hawkshaw who plays with the Irish Hockey Team. All four fireside chats offered invaluable insights and advice for attendees, promoting curiosity, resilience and bravery.