Each year generous Hobart families with newborn babies open their doors to University of Tasmania medical students, as part of the Kids and Families Program.
Families involved with the program were thanked on Saturday (8 April 2017) at a special get-together recognising the contribution they make to medical students’ learning.
A unique and important part of training for students, the School of Medicine program has run for more than a decade and involved more than 1,000 families and 1,200 medical students.
The program connects students with families who have just had, or are about to have a baby, through a series of home visits.
Program coordinator Dr Brigid McKenna said the program gave students the chance to witness the development of a child and learn about the family’s journey, challenges and experiences.
“Some of these students have never held a baby,” she said.
“Over the two years the students see tremendous changes in the development of that little person.”
To keep running, the program requires around 40 new volunteer families a year.
Individual students are matched with a family who they then visit seven times over a two-year period.
Dr McKenna said the experience had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the families involved.
She said the program was about giving students a family’s perspective, which would benefit them greatly in their future medical careers.
“It is about seeing things from the family’s perspective – what it is like to have a new baby in the home, what it is like visiting the doctor with a small baby/child, what families see as positive qualities in a doctor.”