University of Queensland Medical School students help service medical centre

Medical students from the University of Queensland Medical School helped service a pop-up medical centre for 9,000 scouts and 3,000 adults at the 2013 Australian Jamboree. The annual jamboree is a gathering of Scouts from across Australia—similar to Scouts Canada. Dr Michael Rice, Australian Jamboree Director of Health Services said the fourth-year students, Matthew Wagner and Nathan Dickenson’s medical knowledge and skills were invaluable.

University of Queensland Medical School
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“Jamborees run on volunteers, many within Scouting, but in the case of the medical centre, we needed some special skills and knowledge not available within the organization in sufficient numbers.”

The students bridged the medical skills gap and received valuable teaching from numerous doctors from around Australia. Matthew Wagner said this was a unique medical elective with many challenges and rewarding experiences, adding that he received encouragement from watching University of Queensland Medical School professors in action.

Once established, the Scouts Jamborees are like small towns with shops, radio and TV stations, a daily newspaper, police and fire stations, community hubs and medical centre.

The students helped build the central, air-conditioned medical centre with forty stretchers and a dozen beds for acute admissions. The medical centre also held a well-equipped resuscitation bay, four consulting and treatment rooms, as well as spaces for triage, dressings, pharmacy, catering and a dental van.

During the event, the medical centre managed about 2,000 first aid cases, 2,000 medical and nursing consultations, more than 800 prescriptions, approximately 50 hospital referrals, 70 dental cases and patients who needed hours and even days of observation. Dr Rice said one of the challenges faced was the identification of  gastroenteritis on the site, shown to be caused by highly infectious noroviruses.

“With the medical centre facilities and excellent camp hygiene, a potential epidemic was contained; a remarkable achievement when one considers how such diseases can escape control measures even in hospital environments.”


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