DOZENS of pupils from across the region have been offered a taste of life working in health and social care.
A total of 91 pupils took part in Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Partnership’s work experience week from 25th to 29th September.
Medicine, laboratory science, Care, IT and estates were just some of the areas where the S4 to S6 pupils were working – getting to take on work themselves, and sit in on everything from tooth extractions to surgeries.
Freya Pardoe from Lockerbie Academy was one of seven pupils who were assigned medicine, and she said: “I thought my work experience was phenomenal.
“I had the absolute best time, I was so thankful to everyone I worked with, and it’s confirmed to me that medicine is the path that I want to take in my career.”
Medical Director Dr Kenneth Donaldson was one of the senior managers from the Partnership who attended an event at The Bridge on the Friday afternoon where pupils gave presentations on what they had experienced and learned over the course of the week.
Speaking at the event, Dr Donaldson said: “It’s been a fantastic afternoon, just hearing the experience of lots of school students – and in particular for me hearing from those who were doing the medical block.
“We know there is a lot of school students out there who might be thinking about doing medicine but are just not sure, and this opportunity to actually see what it offers, and the different range, is just invaluable.
“We’re really keen that we get people locally who are getting into medical school. Obviously, our hope is that they might come back to Dumfries and Galloway in the future because we really want to boost our recruitment number, and I see this as a very good start for that – so it’s been a very encouraging afternoon.”
Many of the pupils who took part in the week noted their surprise at the very wide breadth of roles which feature in the delivery of health and social care.
Sharon Williams from Dumfries Academy was among the block of pupils working in administration within general practice, and she said: “Before doing this programme I always thought that the main roles in the hospital were just the doctors and the nurses – I never really appreciated the rest of the staff.”
Similarly, Luka Stores from Wallace Hall Academy described the estates team as ‘unsung heroes’.
He said: “We went to DGRI, Mountainhall, we had a few jobs at Annan and Lochmaben. We had some small jobs, like hanging a picture of Major Tom in Annan, and we went about DGRI looking at the generators and the air handling units. It was a mix of everything, and really good.”
He added: “The estates department, nobody really speaks about it, but it’s actually really interesting how much work they do and how little they’re recognised.”
Other pupils were placed with health care support workers within the community, within the dental centre, within Human Resources, IT, Administration, Home Teams, Medical Physics, Recruitment and Support Services, and alongside pharmacists, ophthalmologists, public health workers, radiologists, practice educators, nurses and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Workforce Manager Vic McDade said: “We’ve had yet another great work experience week, which has allowed pupils an insight into the very many and varied careers which exist within health and social care.
“Hopefully this week gave them a taste of what life might be like after school, and the very many fantastic and varied career opportunities the NHS can offer them.
“And with a bit of luck, a good number of the pupils who we’ve welcomed will go to choose a career within health and social care – and they’ll perhaps go on to work in those roles within Dumfries and Galloway.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took part, and the schools who support this. I’d also like to thank our amazing staff for helping to make these young people feel welcomed and appreciated as they’ve got involved in so many areas of our work.”