Future doctors hit BEACCH for emergency training

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


The Central Coast’s future doctors will swap their scrubs for swimmers when they hit the beach this week for intensive emergency training.

BEACCHES program

The year 4 and 5 University of Newcastle medicine students, who study at the Central Coast campus, will participate in a two-day orientation program designed to introduce them to some of the typical scenarios that might face them in the medical field.

The Beginning Education At Central Coast Hospitals (BEACCHES) program is an initiative designed to introduce the students to both the Central Coast region and the clinical environment using medical scenarios relevant to coastal or remote locations.

Delivered through the Central Coast Medical School (CCMS), a partnership between the University of Newcastle (UON) and Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD), the program is part of a new vision for medical student education on the Coast.

“The introduction of the BEACCHES program is symbolic of new beginnings for the Central Coast Medical School,” CCMS Clinical Dean, Dr Amanda Dawson said.

“The CCMS is a school that cares for the coast and cares for our future. The camaraderie that will develop through teamwork during the program will establish long-term support networks between the students, doctors and community of the Central Coast.”

The Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute, to be located at the redeveloped Gosford Hospital, is expected to be completed in 2019, and fully-operational and occupied by the first intake of commencing medical students by 2020. The University has agreed to transfer 30 commencing medical student places each year from 2020 to a total of 150 over five years.

Dr Dawson said that by increasing the exposure of new medical students to the unique characteristics of the Central Coast community, the CCMS was aiming to encourage a sustainable health workforce for the region.

“The students will study and train on the Coast, undertaking clinical placements in the community and be embedded in meeting the healthcare challenges facing the region.”

BEACCHES will immerse students in training and demonstrations containing realistic emergency scenarios, using mock patients to challenge and develop their learning. The unique program will also provide opportunities for students to connect with their peers, support team, supervisors and the Central Coast locality.

During the program, students will participate in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Learning how to stay safe in the surf with the Surf Life Saving Central Coast Education Team
  • Practise first aid skills and teamwork as part of a first aid competition conducted by local surf life savers
  • Meet a reptile or two and learn about the production of life-saving anti-venom of Australia’s deadliest snakes and the funnel web spider, with a visit from The Australian Reptile Park
  • Have a yarn with Bronwyn Chambers the UON Elder in Residence and learn about the Central Coast Aboriginal Community, their customs, culture and rights
  • Learn about the beautiful Central Coast coastline with all its wonderful inhabitants and ocean sustainability with OCCI - Ocean and Coastal Care Initiative
  • Discover ways to manage student workload, student health and how to care for each other at the forum supported by a panel of senior and junior doctors, and
  • Get to know UON/CCLHD support team in a relaxed and fun environment.

Dr Dawson said that embracing the CCLHD and UON core values of caring for the Coast community, there was no doubt the CCMS was vital in building the region’s future.

“As part of the theme - Caring for the Future - the underlying agenda of BEACCHES is to support the mental and physical well-being of our students. It is a sad truth that many health professionals struggle with mental and physical well-being, during their careers just like any member of our community.”

BEACCHES is supported by Surf Life Saving Central Coast and Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club.