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In a whirlwind tour of much of New Zealand, the NZRGPN and students will visit 36 rural high schools to speak to year nine and ten students about the possibility of careers in health.

“If we are to reverse a chronic shortage of healthcare professionals in rural communities, we must actively encourage high school pupils from rural communities into healthcare careers,” said NZRGPN Chief Executive Dalton Kelly.

“The purpose of this tour is to utilize current tertiary health students to get rural young people thinking about the possibilities of training to become healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, midwives, pharmacists and dentists.”

“In arranging current healthcare students to speak about their own experiences and ambitions, it is an important opportunity to inspire the next generation of rural health practitioners.”

Dalton Kelly said part of the problem contributing to the current shortage of healthcare professionals in rural communities is a failure to get rural students to study health-related sciences.

“We need to start to train healthcare students inside our rural communities and even before that, we must inspire rural young people to want to become their communities’ next doctors and nurses and show them how to do it.”

The tour will involve speaking with students at schools in the following regions: Akaroa, Lincoln, Rolleston, Ellesmere, Ashburton, Methven, Darfield, Geraldine, Fairlie, Twizel, Timaru, Oamaru, Waimate, Palmerston, Ranfurly, Milton, Cromwell, Roxburgh, Dunstan, Wanaka, Otaki, Levin, Palmerston North, Taihape, Turangi, and Taupo.

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