• Hawke’s Bay DHB’s chief nurse “can’t imagine doing anything else”

Hawke’s Bay DHB’s chief nurse “can’t imagine doing anything else”

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s chief nurse says this International Nurses Day is an opportunity to acknowledge our nurses for stepping up over the past two years.

Karyn Bousfield-Black, Chief Nursing Officer at the DHB, says nurses across the health system have had to respond to the added pressure of Covid-19 in recent times.

"This has had an impact on resources and also led to staffing shortages but nurses have shown incredible resilience and professionalism.

“I want to acknowledge and thank nurses for all they do for our communities. These last two years have reconfirmed why this is the profession for me, and how lucky I am to be working with such an amazing group of professionals."

Nursing is the largest group of health professionals in the country, with 62,342 people working as enrolled nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners as of March 2021.

Held on Thursday, this year’s International Nurses Day theme is: “A Voice to Lead - Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health”. 

Black says recent legislative changes, such as those giving registered nurses who are appropriately educated and credentialed the right to prescribe, have broadened the scope of nursing practice. 

“That change was made to support nurses to further enable care for whānau and has armed nurses with the ability to improve access to care.”

Hawke’s Bay DHB Chief Nursing Officer Karyn Bousfield-Black with the Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) team
at the nurses’ station at Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldier’s Memorial Hospital. Photo/Supplied. 

Black has been a registered nurse since 1991 and believes nursing is a great career choice because of the variety, flexibility and career options.

“I didn’t think I would be in nursing for my whole career, but 34 years later I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“You can be working in a rural nurse specialist role, for example, where you are the only health professional in a rural environment, or you can do community nursing, primary care nursing or work in a hospital context.”

For Hawke’s Bay DHB Portfolio Manager Panu Te Whaiti, nursing has led to broader career choices. 

A 48-year-old mother of two boys, Te Whaiti not only studied nursing later than many, at age 38 but fast-tracked up the nursing ladder.

Upon completion of her studies, Te Whaiti worked at the Hastings branch of Totara Health, where she was promoted from Practice Nurse to Clinical Nurse Team Leader within two years. Within another few years, she took on a Portfolio Manager role at the DHB’s corporate office.

“My strengths in my new role are due to my clinical and community background, and having worked with Māori and Pasifika communities."

Mike Connolly, Clinical Nurse Specialist at the DHB’s Consult Liaison Mental Health Services, also showcases the variety of options available to nurses.

After graduating in 1991 in England, Connolly moved to Fiji where he spent two years as a volunteer mental health nurse before moving to New Zealand.

In his DHB role, Mr Connolly sees patients who have presented to hospital with other health conditions (i.e. asthma, diabetes, etc.), who are referred for a mental health assessment.

“The most rewarding part of my role is making a difference in people’s lives and people’s wellbeing."