What is it?
The Kids and Families Program is an important part of the training of medical students (Trainee Doctors) at the University of Tasmania. It introduces students to normal childhood and the importance of the family. It is the first long-term professional relationship that medical students have.
Students follow the progress of a child over a 2-year period. They do this through visits to a family, along with a series of tutorials and online learning modules.
What is involved for you?
The Kids and Families Program begins by introducing 3-4 first year medical students to a family that is about to have a baby.
Students can visit your family at home or undertake virtual visits online using Zoom or any platform that is suitable, at a time that is convenient to you, and will follow the progress of your child during the next 2 years.
Visits will take about 1 hour. There will be 2 visits in the first year, 2 visits in the second year and 1 visit in the third year of the program.
During their visits, students will ask you about the development of your child and seek your family's perspective about various health care issues. They will also ask you about topics such as feeding, growth, relationships in the family, parenting, accidents, changes in behaviour, childcare, emotional support and other related topics.
Why is it important?
The Kids and Families Program is a very important part of the medical course. Rather than concentrating upon disease, this program emphasises normality. It teaches concepts of preventative health, ranges of normal behaviour, and the special relationships and responsibilities that a doctor has. The Kids and Families Program motivates students by allowing them to see the relevance of the other learning that they do within the university. The program emphasises the importance of a "whole person", rather than "disease-based" approach to health care.
In addition, the program gives students a good understanding of family health care issues and normal childhood, an essential element of effective care for children.
"I have been involved with the Kids and Families Program for all 3 of my children.
The program provides medical students with an opportunity to work closely with the pregnant woman and gain an understanding of the challenges of raising a newborn. Students conduct their interviews in a non-threatening and comfortable environment away from the clinical setting of the hospital.
I have enjoyed sharing my experiences of becoming a mother with students from the program. It has been lovely to meet students who are focused on becoming better doctors and interacting with the community."
"It has been a great learning experience to be able to follow a family's journey through what can be said as one of the most challenging yet memorable times of their lives."