St John cadets de­scend on Stoke


Am­bu­lances, St John staff and more than 180 young St John vol­un­teers were out in force in Stoke, but it wasn’t for a mass emer­gency. Nel­son was play­ing host to an­nual na­tional cadet com­pe­ti­tions.

The com­peti­tors, who ranged be­tween 14 and 17 years old, were com­pet­ing last week­end in ar­eas of first aid, health­care, lead­er­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and drills.

Waimea Col­lege stu­dent Cait­lynn Illing­worth, 17, was com­pet­ing as an in­di­vid­ual in the an­nual youth fes­ti­val com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘It chal­lenges you and puts you into a sit­u­a­tion where you go in and have to fig­ure out what’s go­ing on and the best method of treat­ment for the pa­tient,’’ she said.

‘‘I had one test in the Stoke mall where I had a fe­male pa­tient who had fallen over due to some med­i­ca­tion and had in­jured her hip, and also had in­juries to her head and arm.’’

Illing­worth had to as­sess what was go­ing on and also work with the pa­tient’s daugh­ter to un­der­stand how she would be feel­ing.

An­other sce­nario had in­volved a stab­bing and two in­tox­i­cated peo­ple.

‘‘The po­lice were in­volved so it re­ally just in­volved try­ing to con­trol the bleed­ing of the stab­bing pa­tient who had gone into shock due to the loss of blood ... it was a re­ally big mix of things go­ing on.’’

St John’s Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­nity Health Ser­vices Sarah Man­ley said the com­pe­ti­tion pro­vided cadets with a chance to de­velop skills and work to­gether from an early age.

‘‘The ethos be­hind St John Youth is de­vel­op­ing skills, build­ing self­es­teem and cre­at­ing a sense be­long­ing,’’ Man­ley said.

‘‘This is es­pe­cially per­ti­nent in to­day’s so­ci­ety, where there are many dif­fer­ent pres­sures and de­mands on young peo­ple. St John has a proud 90-year his­tory of pro­duc­ing young Ki­wis who go on to be pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens.’’

Props, make-up and ‘pa­tients’ were used in ev­ery phase of the com­pe­ti­tion to recre­ate re­al­is­tic ac­ci­dent and med­i­cal emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

The sce­nar­ios were hap­pen­ing in lo­ca­tions around Stoke and in­cluded a staged emer­gency at a re­tire­ment home, as well as an ab­seil­ing ac­ci­dent at the Scout hall.

St John’s na­tional cadet of the year Cas­cade Price, 18, who has been in­volved with St John for nine years, said she’d been re­ally im­pressed with the stan­dard of the com­pe­ti­tion this year.

‘‘I get to over­see the tests and dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions they’re go­ing into. The com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the drill has been re­ally awe­some and I’m so happy with the high level the cadets have shown.’’

Judges used a spe­cific mark­ing sys­tem, with com­peti­tors re­ceiv­ing points for how well they ap­proached pa­tients, as­sessed the sit­u­a­tions, and man­aged in­juries.

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