UQ students cooperate their way to victory

9 June 2016

Each year UQ students from varying health disciplines collaborate and compete with other universities nationally in the HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC).

For the second year in a row, health students from UQ have won a national competition focused on multidisciplinary healthcare.

The 2015 team also won the Audience Choice Award.

Inspired by a program at the University of British Columbia, the annual HealthFusion Team Challenge prepares students for today’s changing workplace by encouraging greater collaboration between students and professionals from different healthcare professions.

Dr Emma Beckman from the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences mentored the winning team consisting of Joanna Standen (Social Work), Michael Honnery (Occupational Therapy), Nicole Atkinson (Physiotherapy), Elizabeth Coomer (Speech Pathology), Mariam Rizk (Medicine) and Brittany Martin (Pharmacy).

“We have some fantastically talented health professionals coming through the Health at UQ ranks,” Dr Beckman says.

“The win was a great endorsement of not only the individuals concerned, but for the education and support provided by UQ’s health faculties. To be outstanding in one area is an achievement, but this team brought together students from six different disciplines and they were all quite remarkable.”

For the 2015 competition, students were given a gruelling case study based around a diabetic patient who lost part of his foot after an infection. After four weeks of preparation, the teams presented their management plans to a panel of judges before participating in a day of extension questions and activities.

UQ Physiotherapy graduate Nicole Atkinson says the skills developed through the challenge helped her to secure a role as a physiotherapist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

“One of the greatest benefits of the HFTC, which I believe greatly assisted me in landing the job, was getting used to speaking in front of an audience and judging panel, both off a script for the presentation but also off-the-cuff,” Nicole says.

“The quick decision making skills I developed gave me confidence in my abilities which calmed my nerves prior to the interview.

“Also being a very practical degree, studying physiotherapy at UQ prepared me for tackling my graduate interviews with confidence. In-class patient mock-up interactions and other practical opportunities such as the HFTC refined my communication skills and self assurance.”

The HFTC is one of the many practical opportunities in which UQ health students can participate to take the theory they learn and practice it in a real-life setting, as well as developing skills in an interprofessional workplace environment. These skills ensure students are attaining the experience required to be successful in their future careers.

Words: Emma Mackenzie