Northland District Health Board (DHB) and NorthTec staff are working closely together to develop a potential workforce for Northland which incorporates nursing tutors and students to support the healthcare frontline, if required.
NorthTec Bachelor of Nursing Coordinator, Jeanette Briscoe, says several tutors are ready to work in hospitals and in the community to help with patient care if healthcare services in Northland become overwhelmed.
“We really want to support our clinical colleagues during this incredibly tough time. Ultimately, all of us came into the nursing profession to care for people in need,” says Jeanette. “I have been liaising with the Northland DHB Director of Nursing around their emergency planning, organised access to online DHB orientation courses for NorthTec staff to work through, and we have all completed health screening. This means that if the situation deteriorates in Northland, we are prepared to help on the frontline.”
Many third-year nursing students have had their clinical placements cancelled and put on hold while New Zealand is at pandemic Alert Level 4. However, many students still want to help, says Jeanette. “Our students are putting their names forward to be Health Care Assistants for the Northland DHB, to support the call for more staff in the event that the situation in Northland worsens.”
Nursing tutor, Michael McGivern, is one of those who has put his hand up to help if needed. He says that it was important to remember that firstly he is a nurse and have an obligation to assist people when they are unwell.
“During this pandemic, those people who are affected require a high level of support, guidance and direct nursing care. Nurses are trained to provide a high level of holistic care and to address people’s needs regardless of the nature of the problem. It is essential that nurses and other members of the healthcare teams pull together and support each other in order to safely get through this difficult time.”
Kathleen Burson became a NorthTec nursing tutor only five weeks ago, she says, “Working at Northland DHB is like being part of one big nursing family and if the need arose that is where I would want to be, supporting my nursing family to care for the people of Northland.”
Dr Bev Mackay, Nursing Pathway Manager, says this pandemic coincides with the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, which highlights the importance of the nursing and the healthcare profession during this time.
She says: “Worldwide, nurses are showing resilience and sacrifice while helping to fight COVID-19 at the frontline of the pandemic. This is the significance of choosing nursing as a career option, you can really make a difference in times like this. This is why our nursing tutors and students have chosen their career path – to help those in need. We are proud of our students and tutors who are prepared and ready to fight COVID-19 together, if required.”