Handover | Issue 34 – April 2016

It’s been more than a year since Anne Brebner left her role of nurse lead at Te Pou and joined Counties Manukau Health as the clinical nurse director – mental health.

Anne’s nursing career spans thirty years and includes specialising in child and family services and working in primary care. Currently Anne is the president of Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses.

Anne is really loving her new role, especially being back amongst mental health nurses and influencing standards of practice, coaching and mentoring and seeing some of the innovations in practice.

She has also found the work and development she did at Te Pou incredibly useful. In particular, learning to write succinctly and clearly, understanding how to effectively influence plus using levels of authority to improve the impact of services on people. Anne has found that her knowledge of the national strategic picture, policy and drivers of change, along with her many connections and networks, made during her time at Te Pou continue to strongly support the work she does now.

One of her favourite things is seeing the work developed at Te Pou being used and operationalised in practical and useful ways. Of note is least restrictive practice and wellbeing work. Anne says, “people want to work in ways that support that, but sometimes waiting for systems to catch up with developments can be a barrier”. She sees enormous opportunities to improve what happens for people who need the most serious of mental health services.

Anne sees some of the biggest challenges in the future will be understanding what the workforce, in an increasingly squeezed environment that is also responding to growing complexity and pressure of people and their families and whānau, needs to be. Maintaining appropriately skilled staffing levels and new graduate nursing numbers is a continuing concern. Staying current and relevant is something that needs to be continually assessed and strived for.

Despite those challenges Anne feels positive and inspired by the forward momentum and positive changes over the last years’ in mental health service provision. She is proud of mental health nursing and is looking forward to the next years and most of all, the opportunities to ensure services support people to have lives they want to live.

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