Handover | Issue 42 - July 2018

Sarah works within an acute adult inpatient setting and is participating in the Waikato District Health Board Honours Leadership programme for second-year registered nurses. For the first time, two positions for mental health and addiction services have been added to the 2018 programme. The programme provider is the University of Auckland and in addition to continuing current employment, she will be attending funded leadership development and research method courses over an 18-month period. Supported by senior nurses, Sarah will be completing study days, presentations and a 12-month dissertation on a research project focusing on current Waikato DHB nursing priorities. Elements of the leadership development programme she is most looking forward to are equity and health gain for Māori and Pasifika people, and exploring leadership skills. 

In October 2017, new graduate nurses in the Midland cohort of the University of Auckland’s New Entry to Specialist Practice (NESP) programme attended day one of the 5th international conference of Te Ao Māramatanga - NZCMHN, in Hamilton. For most, this was our first nursing conference. 

There was no doubt that attending the conference was one of the most interesting events of the year; from powhiri to closing the whole experience was inspiring. We eagerly entered the conference room ready to listen and absorb the knowledge, and the atmosphere of being amongst passionate people working within our chosen career. 

It was an information filled day, with a range of intriguing topics being discussed by many passionate keynote speakers. These were all creatively tied together with the conference theme "Surfing the Waves", which demonstrates the many different aspects involved in mental health nursing. The discussions around the fourth wave that focused on the link between mental, physical and social health, important factors towards recovery, aligned well with lessons from our studies and personal nursing philosophies. 

Keynote speakers whose words particularly resonated with our group were Moe Milne and Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann. Their words and passion held our attention steadfast and left us with changes to our practice that make us consider the individual, their environment and personal cultural practices in more ways than before. We now feel better equipped to understand and protect the health and wellbeing of Māori and Pasifika tāngata whai ora, through more holistic care models. 

The afternoon’s concurrent sessions were a hit, allowing for snippets of relevant and important information to be shared with smaller groups. This design allowed us to attend the sessions that resonated most closely with us or allowed us to gain knowledge on less familiar subjects. The only regret was that we couldn’t attend them all! We were so proud that a member of our own group was invited to present at these sessions; it was fantastic to see Richard Shaw, a new graduate registered nurse, describe a clinical experience and share with others what he learnt as an outcome. Hearing positive responses from the audience highlighted that novice or expert, nurses can learn a lot from one another. 

We left feeling very inspired and passionate about mental health nursing - having heard the passion for equity, social justice and care towards people experiencing mental distress conveyed in all the presentations. Many couldn’t help but consider how our knowledge, experience and courage may develop over the coming years, that perhaps we may be adding to the discussions or become keynote speakers ourselves. 

Ngā mihi nui 

Sarah Taylor on behalf of 2017 Midland NESP nursing cohort