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September 2016

Students infront of mural jpeg Copperfield College students Arshia, Jamie, Tamaru, Jeff and Lam with their Sunshine Hospital mural.

Student project adds silver lining to patient experience

A blossoming partnership between high school students and Sunshine Hospital is making time spent in hospital more enjoyable for patients and their families.

Now in its fifth year of operation, the partnership involves students from nearby Copperfield College collaborating with hospital staff to produce useful items for patients.

This year, the students made a cubby house and a Remembrance Tree for the hospital’s palliative care garden, sensory aprons to help elderly dementia patients reminisce and a seven metre-wide Australiana mural in Ward 2A.

The groups of Year 11 and 12 students are studying for their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) – the vocational learning option for senior school students that leads to apprenticeships, training courses or employment.

Under the partnership, each group of students is assigned a Western Health staff member as a mentor.

The mentors provide guidance and feedback to the students, who choose a project to work on over four months.

Sharon Collard, the mentor for the Australiana mural project, was impressed with the students’ dedication in designing and producing the artwork.

She said patients often remarked on how lovely the mural was and how it brightened the ward.

Fourteen projects, using vocational skills such as carpentry, graphic design, sewing and metalwork, were produced during the year.

Copperfield College teaching staff, parents, members of Western Health’s executive team and hospital staff recently gathered at Western Health’s Western Centre for Health Research and Education to hear the students present their projects.

Western Health’s community engagement and volunteers manager Jo Spence said the projects revealed a high standard of creativity and thoughtfulness.

‘I was truly amazed at the ‘can do’ attitude instilled in the students,’ Ms Spence said.

‘They felt very connected to Sunshine Hospital and pleased to be contributing in a meaningful way to the broader community.’