Hospital helps high school students kick-start their careers

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Director of Nursing and Facility Manager, Karen Croker with Maleny State High School student Natalie Batista

Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital (MSMH) is helping grow the next generation of healthcare workers through school-based traineeships.

Maleny State High School student Natalie will graduate Year 12 with a Certificate III in Business Administration and experience working in a health administration environment.

Director of Nursing and Facility Manager, Karen Croker, said MSMH had been working with Maleny State High school and registered training organisations since 2016, to offer a school-based traineeship program.

“Students on the program can stay at school while gaining experience, skills and knowledge in their chosen profession at their local hospital,” Ms Croker said.

“During their traineeship, they also gain confidence in themselves and life experience.

“Our traineeship program is the first of its kind for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.

“Students selected for traineeships gain a Certificate III in either administration, operational services (hospitality) or allied health through our partnered registered training organisations.”

Ms Croker said students submit their applications for the program and are interviewed by a Maleny Hospital representative and the Maleny School Coordinator.

“There are often a number of high-quality applicants, making the decision of the preferred applicant difficult,” she said.

“Past trainees have gone on to gain employment in their chosen area; an administration trainee is now a permanent employee at Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital, and another is in the casual pool for operational service and currently backfilling long-term leave on contract.

“This is a wonderful program that not only benefits the individual students, but also the hospital itself.

“It gives us an opportunity to ‘grow your own’ from our own community.”

Natalie’s story

Natalie commenced her traineeship while in Year 11 at Maleny State High School, studying a Certificate III in Business Administration at school and working at Maleny Hospital one day per week.

“I always wanted to work for the health department, and I felt this traineeship would give me the experience, contacts and insight into how the health system works so that I could make an informed decision as to what to do after school,” Natalie said.

“I knew how amazing the Maleny Hospital is, with incredibly supportive and caring colleagues to work with.

“It is also like my first job; I’ve really been able to experience the workforce and a professional environment that I wouldn’t be able to find as a high school student in other, more casual part-time jobs.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenges that come with entering a new environment, the ongoing learning, meeting new colleagues, adjusting to government regulations, and exploring different tasks. 

“However, my favourite aspect of this traineeship is working with professional and supportive colleagues; as someone who will be entering the workforce very soon, I want to learn and develop the characteristics of these individuals.

“This traineeship has supported me to develop confidence and skills; I encourage other students to pursue a traineeship like this one.”

Natalie said she plans to continue working in health after she graduates at the end of this year.

“I am planning to study nursing, then eventually retrain and do a degree in medicine,” she said.

“I hope to work in administration while I study, to learn more about the health system and expand my skills.

“No matter what I do, I would like to return to a rural community such as Maleny.”