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Preparing ākonga for the collaborative future of healthcare

A newly built home for an ākonga (learner)-assisted health and wellbeing service has been officially opened and blessed at the Rotokauri campus of Wintec | Te Pūkenga.

Te Kotahi Oranga | Health and Wellness Centre focuses on embedding interprofessional collaboration in training.

“Lifestyle related health challenges and chronic disease such as diabetes and an aging population has made the needs of patients more complex,” says Adjunct Professor Sharon Brownie of Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice.

“Growing evidence suggests –that the future of healthcare needs to be patient-centred with high levels of team-based collaboration - different professions working together within our system to achieve better outcomes.”

“To develop collaborative competencies, ākonga need access to work placement opportunities supporting the development of interprofessional skills.”

The advancement of better health and learning outcomes for the community at Te Kotahi Oranga is made possible through the generous support of Trust Waikato and a $1.5 million Community Impact Grant.

Te Kotahi Oranga clinic is a community-led example of how collaboration can benefit both ākonga and the communities they serve – ultimately improving outcomes of the highest need communities within the Waikato region. It’s exciting that this innovative, strengths-based model of healthcare delivery has the ability to expand and address issues of equity and access nationwide, and further,” says Trust Waikato chief executive Dennis Turton.

Services available at the centre were designed in partnership with local providers, these include:

  • Fall assessment and prevention
  • Pre-diabetes care and management
  • Free community health screening
Currently, Te Kotahi Oranga offers placement opportunities to ākonga in Bachelor of Nursing, Diploma of Enrolled Nursing and Bachelor of Occupational Therapy programmes, under the supervision of their tutors.

“International research shows student-run services improve learners’ clinical skills, while also enhancing interpersonal communication, leadership, empathy, while enhancing understanding of community and underserved patient groups,” says Prof Brownie.

he new premises, located in a purpose-built extension of the campus’s student hub, include four consultation rooms and a teaching – community room for the delivery of care, centred on patients and their whānau.

“The approach allows for longer appointment times, leading to more comprehensive assessment of client need,” says Customer Services Manager, Michelle Young.  

“We also conduct home visits in the community. In the case of fall prevention for the elderly, this helps us work with clients to ensure these environments are safer.”

Wintec | Te Pūkenga wishes to publicly acknowledge the contributions of all kaimahi who have made this possible and the awhi of partners including Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust who engaged on site in the design and pilot of the first programmes along with other providers including The Asian Network Incorporated, Asthma Waikato, Te Kōhao Health and Geneva Healthcare partnered with the centre.  

“On behalf of Te Pūkenga, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those at Wintec and in the region, who have made this a reality,” says Dr Angela Beaton, National Ako Director – Community, health, social services, education.

“Your vision to pursue better, more innovative models in both healthcare and training is inspiring, benefiting the ākonga and people of Waikato, as well as our national network for vocational education.”

The blessing and opening of the centre was followed by a symposium presenting research on interprofessional approaches to healthcare.

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