Handover | Issue 37 – December 2016 – Cover story

On 10 November Waitematā DHB held a graduation celebration for 25 nurses who had completed the mental health and addiction nursing new entry to speciality practice (NESP) programme surrounded by family, whānau, friends, mentors, supervisors, preceptors and nurse leaders. Angela Gruar and Suzette Poole from Te Pou were delighted to speak at this forum.

Matua Piripi Daniels and Whaea Tahana opened the day for the 100 guests with a celebration to embrace their new nurses. They imparted a wonderful feeling of being connected to family and whānau.

Alex Craig, head of division – nursing, has watched the programme evolve since she was first involved in 2002. She firmly believes the programme is a key to attracting and retaining new nurses to work in mental health.

Peter Blake, newly appointed to the role of new graduate programme coordinator, was thrilled with the calibre of nurses in the programme. Feedback from students was positive and highlighted areas he is also keen to improve.

Graduates included: Aaron Smith, Ambi Cherian, Deb Cruickshank, Erica Park, Florence Alesana, Jenny Morris, Laurian Wheeler, Mansa Nti, Miriam Hughes, Netane Takau, Riley Smith, Tanya Arnesen and Tina Roberts. 

Award winning graduates

Awards were presented to the following graduates.

  • Angela Manigsaca - Academic achiever award
  • Asuquo Asuquo - Class representative award
  • Blake McCarthy - Portfolio award
  • Emma Williamson - Class representative award and Whitiki Maurea cultural competence award
  • Giovanni Lolohea - Recovery award
  • Mele Tuinukuafe - Consumer responsiveness award
  • Natasha Barber - Clinical excellence award
  • Rebecca Fort - Reflective practice award 
  • Riley Smith - Whitiki Maurea cultural competence award

Matua Piripi Daniels and Whaea Tahana presented Emma Williamson and Riley Smith with the Whitiki Maurea cultural competence award. This award recognises nurses who have demonstrated an understanding of and enacting of, the principles of cultural responsiveness and cultural safety in both their academic and clinical practice.

Acknowledging support from staff

The level of commitment and support from DHB staff for nurses on this programme is high. The preceptors, supervisors and mentors supporting this year’s group received certificates of acknowledgement from Peter Blake and were awarded at the ceremony.

New graduates enter forensic mental health services

As part of a wider nursing workforce development plan three new nurses were able to complete the programme within the forensic service. Carole Sneebelli, nurse advisor, facilitated this and was very positive about the outcomes which included Blake McCarthy receiving a portfolio award.

Developing cultural responsiveness

Cultural group supervision has been a unique feature of this programme for the past decade and continues to evolve. This form of support is led by Matua Piripi Daniels and Whaea Tahana from Whitiki Maurea services. Some feedback from this years’ group is shown below.

  • More therapeutic than supervision.
  • Beneficial to my learning and has made me more competent culturally.
  • Very useful.
  • Informative and useful for my own personal professional development.
  • Whaea and Piripi have described well the importance of Maori health.
  • Was excellent, made me want to go back and learn Te Reo, which I will in the future.

Group supervision 

Professional supervision is a key requirement in this programme and nurses attend group supervision facilitated by experienced nurses. Although this form of supervision did not suit everyone, in general most found this type of support invaluable. Some comments are shared below.

  • Walked in saying we did not have much to talk about, then spent whole hour sharing and talking.
  • Helpful to discuss issues at work and to help own practice.
  • Good to have a chat with an experienced nurse.
  • Always left supervision feeling relieved.


Feedback about the programme was gathered and graduates were asked to consider key messages to take forward in their nursing career. Rebecca Fort, received the reflective practice award, and this is her feedback.

At the beginning of my placements I would find myself lying awake at night thinking about what I was going to do tomorrow, what I forgot to do today, what I should have done in one situation, what I shouldn’t have done in another. That’s a really fast way to burn yourself out. To solve this, so that I wasn’t still ruminating at 0300hrs, I began to write down whatever it was that was troubling me and those issues I would take with me to supervision. This allowed me to be able to ‘turn work off’ and discuss issues with colleagues in supervision which benefited all of our learning - Win Win!

Class representatives

Asuquo Asuquo and Emma Williamson acknowledged the support of Peter Blake, new graduate nurse programme coordinator, who was described by graduates as excellent, firm but fair, supportive, knowledgeable and approachable.