St George Hospital's PARTY program prompts a warning to teens and their risk-taking behaviour

Reality unfolds: Students watch a re-enactment of a typical trauma scenario at St George Hospital.
Reality unfolds: Students watch a re-enactment of a typical trauma scenario at St George Hospital.

Hearing about what could happen, all within the safe confines of a four-walled classroom, is no match for seeing it play out in the midst of blood, drips and resuscitation.

St George Hospital this week hosted students from Moorefield Girls High School Kogarah for an exercise that teachers hope will remain etched in memory.

Year 11 students participated in the Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program, which the hospital has held for the second year running. The program is a first for the local health district. 

This full-day excursion is unlike any other - it is confronting and often difficult to watch. But that is exactly what teachers want. 

Students take part in interactive scenarios in the emergency department and in the intensive care unit. Staff re-enact treating a patient who has been in a car crash. 

The aim is to prevent risk-taking behaviour by showing young people what the consequences of their actions can lead to.

They chat with a paramedic and a police officer, and also meet a real survivor of trauma.

About 400 young people are treated for traumatic injury at the hospital each year. 

Head of physical education at Moorefield, Christie Beynon, says the program is hugely beneficial for the girls. 

"It has a huge impact," she said. "Seeing the consequences of risky behaviour is not the same as listening to someone talk about it in a classroom.

"It is a bit overwhelming and shocking for many students but brings home what can happen. It's a different kind of delivery."

Program coordinator, Kristy Smith, says the idea of the popular program is to encourage safer choices. 

“We received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from teachers and students last year," she said.

Hands-on action: Clinical nurse consultant Benjamin Wood takes students through a typical case in the intensive care unit.

Hands-on action: Clinical nurse consultant Benjamin Wood takes students through a typical case in the intensive care unit.

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