Doctors of the future tackle ‘eye-opening’ cases

Future health practitioners were put through the ringer when they tackled complex patient cases at Westmead Hospital last month.

The University of Sydney’s Health Collaboration Challenge (HCC) draws together about 1700 students from 11 different health disciplines to put their health skills to the test in teams of five to seven.

This year 250 of the students took on the challenge at Westmead for the first time the hospital was chosen as one of the host venues.

The teams have eight hours to work on the fictional case studies, which are written by health professionals and based on real patients.

Hundreds of students gathered in the morning for their briefing.

Master of Nursing student Peter Nguyen said the challenge was an enjoyable experience.

“It was eye-opening to have worked with fellow students studying in other disciplines,” he said.

Westmead Precinct Education Hub manager Monica Hughes said this was the first year Westmead Hospital was chosen as one of the HCC sites, which are spread around the state.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to promote inter-professional teamwork with our health professionals of the future,” Monica said.

“Inter-professional working is an essential graduate quality to ensure students are capable of effective teamwork in the complex health sector.”

The teams are made up of students from dentistry, oral health, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy, dietetics, diagnostic radiography and exercise physiology.

Their goal is to produce a patient management plan and team video capturing their inter-disciplinary work, making the HCC assessment a unique undergraduate experience.

Students are marked on their efforts, meaning western Sydney patients can be assured these future health practitioners are ready to work together to achieve the best outcomes.

The University of Sydney has around 2000 students based across the Westmead Precinct in disciplines from medical sciences to design to bioengineering.

As part of the Westmead Academic Strategy, the university is working to grow their Westmead presence to 6000 students by 2030 as part of a $500 million commitment to the future of western Sydney and the Westmead Precinct.

Spanning 75 hectares, the Westmead Precinct comprises over 400,000m2 of high-end health-related developments, including three major hospitals, four world-leading medical research institutes, two university campuses and the largest research intensive pathology service in NSW.

For further information about the Westmead Precinct, visit: