Health Careers to Try – changing lives for the future

Mrs Susan Witt1, Mr Mantavya Patel2

1Flinders University, Tiwi, Australia, 2Top End Health Service, Tiwi, Australia


Introduction:Health workforce shortages in the Northern Territory are problematic for health services. Further most health courses are not available locally so students are required to move interstate to train, increasing the likelihood that they may not return to the NT after graduating.

Method:Our health service procured a Youth Week grant to fund a ‘Health Careers to Try’ day. As a health careers promotion event, interactive profession-specific 15 minute stations were designed where students could touch, ask questions and learn about the various disciplines. Additionally, local universities provided information about pathways to study the profession of choice.

Results:There have been four ‘Health Careers to Try’ to date. In 2018 a total of 108 students participated with many schools requesting additional places due to high interest from Year 10-12 students. All student groups were accompanied by school staff. Fifteen stations were included with most stations rostering staff and placement students to ensure minimal impact on clinical services. Following the event 98 students indicated an interest in pursuing a career in health with 43 students requesting follow-up information about specific courses.

Discussion: Feedback from health professionals, staff and students indicated the day was a great success with outcomes ranging from increased awareness of health careers, improved knowledge of career pathways and university access. It also provided an opportunity to showcase the diversity of the hospital services and built stronger relationships between University, local Schools and Health services.


Susan Witt completed Occupational Therapy training in 2000. She worked extensively across Australia and overseas before completing a Masters in 2015. She is currently employed as a Lymphoedema therapist at the Royal Darwin Hospital and Lecturer Nursing and Allied Health at Flinders University. She is also working towards a PHD in Lymphoedema.

Mantavya Patel is currently employed as Clinical Nurse Educator for the Graduate Nurse Program with the Top End Health Service, Northern Territory. He obtained a Bachelor of Science and then Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Laboratory Science before completing his nursing qualification in New Zealand. He continued to peruse a post graduate qualification in Health Science (Advance Nursing) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Clinical Education.

Mantavya is a highly motivated Clinical Nurse Educator with experience in various healthcare settings including major metropolitan hospitals as well as rural regional centres. Additionally, he has extensive knowledge and experience in simulation based learning. Mantavya has worked in clinical and educational roles in New Zealand, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

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