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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

Georgia Dick (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Lisa Harrington have graduated with a Master of Professional Practice with Distinction at EIT.

Lisa Harrington and Georgia Dick (Ngāti Kahungunu) have graduated with a Master of Professional Practice with Distinction at EIT, but their association will continue long after thanks to a friendship developed through study.

Lisa, a Social Worker and National Practice Design Advisor at Oranga Tamariki, and Georgia, an Advanced Practitioner Respiratory Physiotherapist at Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay, first met while studying the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Supervision (Level 8) in 2021.

Neither of them thought they would end up completing their masters, but both credit one another for getting through it. Coming from different fields was particularly beneficial.

“I don’t think I would have gotten through it without Lisa,” Georgia admits. “Neither,” Lisa says.

Brunches became a staple of their study.

“The good thing about Georgia and I is, I’d have a panic and she’d be calm and then she’d have a panic and I’d be calm. And so we could actually message each other and then we’d go out for brunch and we’d go to the library or stuff like that. And we’d do a little bit together and then get on track. It was easier to do with Georgia.”

While supervision is a core part of Social Work, it is not mandated for Physiotherapists, but equally as important.

“I’ve been a supervisor in the organisation for ages, but there was a group of us from Oranga Tamariki at the time that went and did the supervision certificate together. I just wanted to explore different models and different ways of doing supervision and reignite that passion for it,” Lisa says.

Lisa, 50, graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work at Massey University more than 20 years ago, but through that degree had to complete some papers at the EIT Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale.

Georgia, 29, graduated from the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in 2016.

Both are from the South Island but ended up moving to Hawke’s Bay several years ago.

“I had kind of wanted to always do my masters, but I do a subset of physiotherapy – respiratory physio and critical care – and there isn’t a lot of specific masters available for that. So I kind of got into it accidentally through the professional supervision and then realised that was a third of the way towards my masters, so thought ‘well, I’m this far in, let’s try.”

Lisa says the masters has been “life changing”.

“It’s been a life-changing situation for me with the topics that I chose to research and the critical reflections that I did. It’s been a professional and personal journey for me. Nothing but beneficial.”

Georgia says the learnings from her study gave her the skills and confidence to go for a three month secondment as one of the Physiotherapy Critical Care Educators in the Central Region, which encompasses Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, and Wellington.

It was a similar situation for Lisa, who recently was promoted from Practice Leader for Oranga Tamariki’s Hastings site to National Practice Design Advisor.

“It helped me to apply for a different job to pursue the same kind of things that I’ve been doing, but that’s what’s contributed to my study as well.”

Georgia believes the programme is “underrated”.

“The ability to write your thesis on whatever you want was really interesting because I actually wrote mine on resources for healthcare workers after a disaster essentially after the cyclone. And there’s no way I would have been able to do that with any of the other kind of big masters.”

Lisa says: “I think that the way that it’s set up with the critical reflection, the types of professions that go into that masters potentially are ones that need to have self-critical reflection but don’t have the time because they’re quite high-pressured, stressful jobs. You can see from everybody through critical reflections how much stronger people are in their professional selves.”

They both speak highly of the lecturers.

“Heaps of credit goes to the tutors because they really just create space for you to explore areas. They don’t force you down a path, which can be kind of scary if you want some guidance about it. But actually, the end result when you think about it afterwards is it’s all your work. It’s not influenced by other people and it’s how you want to write it.

“And I think that it takes a special skill to be able to do that.”

Mandy Pentecost, Programme Coordinator of the School of Education and Social Sciences Postgraduate Programmes

“Being a part of  Lisa and Georgia’s masters journey  has been a privilege. Lisa and Georgia exemplify the commitment and determination our postgraduate students bring to their study, and their willingness to dig deep into the assumptions underpinning their practice. We wish them well as they take up their new roles.”