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CQUni students only undergrads in the world selected to present at WHO conference

Published:16 July 2018

CQUniversity Bachelor of Nursing students Shanda Clark and Rhianna Wood have been selected to present at the 12th Biennial Conference of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery in Cairns, July 2018

Two CQUniversity undergraduate students were selected to present at the 12th Biennial Conference of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery (WHOCC2018) held in Cairns from 17-20 July.

Second-year Bachelor of Nursing student Shanda Clark presented a poster at the conference and first-year Bachelor of Nursing student Rhianna Wood presented an oral – the only undergraduate students in the world selected to participate at the event.

This year’s conference theme was Universal health care: sustainable development goals are everyone’s business and Mrs Clark said her poster reflected that theme.

“My poster is about my journey to university. It discusses barriers I have experienced getting to university, such as lacking foundation literacy and numeracy skills, coming from a lower socioeconomic background and being the first in the family to gain entry into university,” Mrs Clark explains.

“It also presents my solutions to overcoming those barriers, why I chose CQUniversity, and how my story is applicable to sustainable development. It highlights the importance of quality education, which leads to a healthier population providing opportunities for people from underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds to break the cycle and seek higher education, ultimately inspiring family and friends to do the same by leading a cultural change.”

Ms Wood said her presentation was about her six-month volunteer trip to the Philippines.

“I was lucky enough to get selected to do a seven-minute rapid-fire presentation about my six-month volunteer trip in the Philippines,” Ms Wood said.

“During the trip I helped the community by teaching English to troubled youth and at a preschool level. We completed many feeding programs for the children in the community and eventually added oral health so that the community would brush their teeth before getting the food. There were showers added to the community that lived under the bridge that came with its own set of challenges. The programs that were ran in the communities I was helping directly link to the third sustainable development goal which is Good Health and Wellbeing and more specifically Health Education.”

Both students are based in Townsville and have been studying their degrees via distance education.

“I study via distance as the flexibility with a young family is very important to me,” Mrs Clark said.

“The platforms used to study online have all of the resources I need to be successful and I like being able to study at a pace that suits me. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to study via distance but still be so close to the Townsville campus where I can access support from staff.”

Ms Wood agreed.

“I think that support on the Townsville campus makes distance learning very manageable and fun.”

Mrs Clark said that presenting at the conference was a highlight of her degree to date.

“There have been so many highlights already - clinical placement is really rewarding and I am pretty involved on-campus, having the opportunity to participate in extracurricular events like the trips that come with Club RHINO have been awesome but I guess a huge highlight is being accepted to represent CQUni and present at this international conference,” Mrs Clark said.

“If my presentation was to help show that enabling programs and promoting alternative entry pathways to university for people in lower socioeconomic and diverse backgrounds can improve communities and health outcomes through the power of education then I will feel a real accomplishment.

“To be among so many inspiring people from around the globe, including the ones from CQUni, is still surreal. I am super proud to be part of it, even though my anxiety out of 10 was sitting at a consistent 87,” she laughed.

“I hope that attending the conference will open new doors for me and lead me to new paths on my journey to becoming a nurse and making the world a better place.”

Two other CQUni representatives also presented at the WHOCC2018 conference including Nursing Senior Lecturer Dr Adele Baldwin and Nursing Associate Lecturer Elspeth Wood.