Melbourne Medical School Students Participate In RUOK? Day

Tunnel ball and BBQs help students take a break for RUOK? Day

As part of its strong commitment to student wellbeing, on Thursday September 14th, the Melbourne Medical School supported RUOK? Day activities across its metropolitan and rural clinical school sites.   RUOK? Day is a nation-wide health promotion initiative aimed at increasing social connectedness and encouraging people to check in with those around them and ask RUOK?

The clinical schools held various events for students including BBQs, sports activities and RUOK? Day timetabled breaks with refreshments provided. During these events, RUOK? Day videos were screened to teach students the best way to connect with their peers and ask RUOK? in a supportive, collegiate way.

Both students and staff reflected that the day was effective in initiating important conversations, encouraging a culture of pausing during the work day to connect with peers, and taking a well-deserved break. Although this is just one day in the academic calendar, it is hoped that this day, along with other health promotion initiatives, will help to develop a supportive and connected culture amongst peers at the clinical sites.

The RUOK? Day initiative complements the range of health promotion activities currently being implemented by the recently appointed Health and Wellbeing Practitioners.  The Health and Wellbeing Practitioners are part of an innovative, new approach to not only student wellbeing, but also the reporting of discrimination, bullying and harassment of medical students.

The program was developed by the Medical School to address an identified need for a responsive, local service for medical students, who are often disconnected from the centralised support services during their clinical years. The practitioners travel to clinical sites across the state, providing accessible, timely support and advice for students.

The Health and Wellbeing Practitioners also implement a range of preventative workshops and seminars aimed at promoting positive health messages to students.  The practitioners believe that it is important to provide preventative programs to help keep students well.  Moreover, involving students in proactive activities to embed positive messages regarding the importance of self-care will be beneficial during their time at the university, as well as within their future medical careers.

The Health and Wellbeing Practitioners have now been engaged with students for approximately 18 months and have to date provided face-to-face support to a significant proportion of the MD student population.  Plans have now commenced for this to continue into the coming 2018 academic year.

As 2017 draws to a close, the Health and Wellbeing Practitioners wish to thank the clinical school staff who have been instrumental in supporting RUOK? Day and other health and wellbeing initiatives throughout the year.