UNE Nursing graduate advances skills in Africa

Published 28 October 2015
Nursing graduate Jade Cooper

Nursing graduate Jade Cooper

The University of New England, through the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar Program, is offering its high-achieving undergraduate students opportunities far beyond the realm of the classroom, sending them as far afield as Africa to extend their learning.

Born and bred in Ashford NSW, Nursing graduate and Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar Jade Cooper, will travel to Arusha, Tanzania where she will spend four weeks in November volunteering at Mt Meru Hospital.

There she will have the valuable opportunity to experience the provision of nursing care in a new environment, and become actively involved in patient care and treatment in her main fields of interest – obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics.

“Working at Mt Meru Hospital will present me with the opportunity to widen my clinical experience and strengthen and enhance my existing skills and abilities,” Ms Cooper said.

Volunteers are greatly appreciated in Arusha, as hospitals often have high patient loads, are under-funded, and lacking in necessary resources.

Whilst there, Ms Cooper will offer her time and skills as a newly qualified nurse to assist, support and engage with the doctors and nurses in providing healthcare services to patients from impoverished backgrounds.

“Not only will I be helping people in dire need of healthcare, but I will be learning about different cultures, broadening my understanding of international medicine, and learning things a classroom could never teach me,” Ms Cooper said.

“Furthermore, due to the costs and distances involved in getting to hospital, patients often arrive with pathologies and diseases, such as leprosy, malaria and dengue fever, which have progressed to a critical stage.

“I may be given the opportunity to work with these cases that are rarely, if ever, seen in the developed world – conditions that I am unlikely to see for the rest of my career.

“While enhancing my skills is valuable, more importantly, I will be treating and helping people who really need it.”

Ms Cooper will spend the last week of her placement at the School of St Jude which is a charity funded school that provides free primary and secondary education to the poorest and brightest children in the Arusha region. The school was established by UNE alumna, Gemma Sisia, in 2002 and currently boasts more than 1,900 pupils.

In February 2016 Ms Cooper will commence a New Graduate nursing position at Tamworth Base hospital which will allow her to pursue her passion for rural nursing.

Her principal career plan is to gain employment as a Registered Nurse/Registered Midwife in her hometown of Inverell.