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Kaitlyn gives a helping hand for preterm babies

27 October, 2021

UWA Biomedical Science student Kaitlyn Buffon has supported the development of a new digital resource to help families of premature babies during a 100-hour McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.

Kaitlyn completed the internship with Helping Little Hands, a WA-based charity that provides practical support for families with premature or sick babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Kaitlyn was drawn to the internship from a desire to do more in the community. “I wanted to give back to the Perth community as it has made me feel so welcome since moving here nearly three years ago,” said Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn was tasked with the development a new website for Helping Little Hands, which included visiting the King Edward Memorial Hospital NICU and engaging with hospital staff to gain a deeper understanding of the emotional, financial and health impacts facing families of preterm babies.

“This internship helped me to realise that preterm birth is a prominent issue and that it can have lifelong effects. It reinforced my already strong desire to be able to help people and provide them with the care that they need.

“I knew that by creating an informative and easy to navigate website, more people could access this information and be aware of the services,” she said.

Internship supervisor and Helping Little Hands Co-Founder, Kate Crassweller, was impressed with Katlyn’s initiative and progress in moving the website project along much quicker than they had anticipated.

In addition to developing practical professional skills, Kaitlyn feels that the internship experience has helped her become more understanding and compassionate, which will aid in her future work.

“It has helped me to realise how overwhelming experiences such as having a preterm baby can be, and how this can make people vulnerable.”

Kaitlyn recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship to all students. “It is such a rewarding and eye-opening experience. It allows you to step out into the real world and give back,” she said.