Hands-on experience in preventative healthcare for UNE students

Published 17 September 2015

Students from the University of New England had a wonderful opportunity to gain practical experience in preventive healthcare this week.

Sally Bristow (left) and Olivia Linke

Sally Bristow (left) and Olivia Linke

Seven Nursing students assisted staff from The Centre for Kidney Research at Westmead Children’s Hospital in collecting a variety of measurements indicative of health from more than 40 Armidale High School students.

Lecturer in Nursing from UNE School of Health, Sally Bristow, coordinated the community service engagement on behalf of the students.

“Participating in the study promotes a holistic view of what Nursing entails as our students are not often exposed to applied health prevention practices,” Ms Bristow said.

“Practical experience is more often gained within a hospital environment and not ‘behind the scenes’ such as in this instance.”

Third-year Nursing student, Olivia Linke, agreed.

“This is an ideal opportunity to interact with different age groups and practise valuable nursing skills,” Ms Linke said.

“We measured height, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference and took urine samples for synthesis in the Antecedents of Renal Disease in Aboriginal Children (ARDAC) study.”

The data collected will be utilised in Phase 2 of the ARDAC longitudinal study being conducted by Westmead Hospital. The study is investigating the early signs of kidney and cardiovascular disease in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in NSW.

Chronic diseases, such as heart and kidney disease, are more prevalent amongst Aboriginal Australians in comparison to non-Aboriginal Australians and the study aims to determine whether the increased incidence is widespread in Aboriginal children by screening for early markers of chronic disease.

Phase 1 of the study concluded in 2007 and findings will inform the development of sustainable, targeted early intervention programs.

The study was initiated in 2002 with more than 2000 participants sourced from urban, rural and remote regions across NSW. Participants are screened every two years.