There are 19 new faces around Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals this summer thanks to an annual Summer Studentship
The programme, facilitated by the BOP Clinical Campus, gives medical students from across New Zealand an opportunity to
study topics in the hospital environment with supervision and support from clinicians.
University of Auckland student Andrew Weston is assisting with research into rates of secondary primary malignancy in
patients with existing chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The soon-to-be fifth-year medical student, who has a degree in
biomedical science, said his placement was a “great opportunity to use both degrees to help with research in an area I
am passionate about”.
Being in the Bay was also a huge bonus he added: “My family is here now so I really want to start immersing myself in
this medical community.”
Students in this year’s programme come from the University of Auckland, University of Otago, Canterbury University and
University of Waikato. They are typically medical students who work on a 5 or 10-week project during their summer
semester break. This year the students are completing projects in areas such as surgery, mental health, women’s health
and public health.
Research topics include:Evaluation of Factors Leading to Asthma Presentations in EDGender Dynamix Pilot Outcomes - An Evaluation of Collaborative Transfer of Care to Trans and Non-Binary Youth from
Secondary to Primary Health ServicesWIRED - Whānau Intervention for Reducing Risk Factors for Dementia
Several former summer students have subsequently found work at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB).
Whakatāne Hospital Senior House Office Eleanor Harvey completed a Summer Studentship with Obstetrician Dr Thabani
Sibanda in the summer of 2017/2018 – at the end of her medical school training.
“I gained some excellent experience in an area of quality improvement; something which we have little exposure to at
medical school, and I worked with a range of clinicians who were keen to see change in the quality of care provided at
Whakatāne Hospital,” she said. “Thabani was an excellent source of guidance and supervision. Also, I was able to spend a
glorious summer in Ohope which is always hard to beat.”
Eleanor’s project was to survey a range of clinicians involved in obstetric care and use a Delphi method (a research
tool for finding consensus amongst a group) to create a set of Quality Indicators against which the performance of the
maternity unit could be measured.
Her time in Whakatāne, as both a medical and summer student, led Eleanor to accepting a role as a junior doctor at
Whakatāne Hospital in late 2018, and she has been there ever since.
The Summer Studentship Programme has been available at the BOPDHB since 2009, due to funding provided by sponsors such
as Bay of Plenty Medical Research Trust, Grace Hospital and Venturo Ltd. The students work provides invaluable
assistance with research to improve health outcomes.