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Ipswich students put skills to test in Thailand

USQ Paramedicine students Meg Booth, Brittany Rodda, Simone Pittman and Emma Canning with Australian Catholic University student Nicole Winnington.

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Ipswich students have lent their skills to make a positive impact on the lives of people in Northern Thailand.

Six paramedic students, including USQ’s Meg Booth, Brittany Rodda, Emma Canning and Simone Pittman, travelled to the Mae Hong Son Province to participate in the Challenges Abroad trip, which is for students wanting to do volunteer work overseas.

During the two weeks, the students worked with local health workers to provide extra heath care and support.

They also visited school children, novice monks and hill tribe communities, teaching basic first-aid, English and medical vocabulary.

Third-year student and challenge leader Meg Booth said it was an eye-opening experience.

“The trip was full of so many incredible experiences and a great chance for us to be immersed in a different culture and different challenges,” she said.

“We all felt like we made a huge impact. Even just putting a smile on a little kid’s face made the trip worth it.”

The Ipswich mother said one of the highlights was handing over boxes of donated medical supplies, which included bandages, gloves, saline solution and wound dressing.

“Going to these remote locations and seeing they have first-aid rooms but no medical supplies was heartbreaking because our passion is to help people who are sick or in trouble,” she said.

“Things like being able to take a paracetamol for a headache or grab an adhesive strip for a paper cut we take for granted, whereas if anyone in these small communities sustained a fairly serious injury, it could take them nearly a day to get to a hospital to receive proper treatment.”

Miss Booth said the experience allowed them to gain hands-on experience of treating patients in remote areas.

“We were out of our comfort zone, but it was a great learning experience,” she said.

“Given the lack of medical equipment and supplies, we had to think outside the box and work together to overcome certain situations.”

Paramedic students Meg Booth, Brittany Rodda, Simone Pittman, Emma Canning (USQ), Nicole Winnington (ACU) and Sloane McCulloch (University of Sunshine Coast) visited a scout’s camp.

Paramedic students Sloane McCulloch, Brittany Rodda and Simone Pittman demonstrate how to splint a broken leg using a broom.

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