Nursing students reunite after 30 years

6 November 2018

Nursing students reunite after 30 years

NorthTec graduates from the School of Nursing enjoyed a special reunion to celebrate 30 years since completing their studies.

Twenty members of the Bachelor of Nursing class of 1988 got together at the Raumanga site to catch up with a welcome on Te Puna o Te Mātauranga marae and a campus tour, followed by dinner in town.

Organiser Christine Sapwell, a current NorthTec nursing lecturer who graduated from the class of 1988, said the reunion brought together former classmates who travelled from as far afield as the South Island and Australia for the event. The group were given a tour of their old school including classrooms, laboratories and clinical skills practice rooms.

She said: “Looking around the old space began an afternoon of shared stories and memories, including some from those who lived in the old hospital nurses’ home. Several students remembered with much hilarity the challenges of sneaking boyfriends into the home to visit after hours. Two of those old boyfriends accompanied their wives to the reunion and shared their humorous tales of avoiding the watchful eyes of nurses’ home staff.”

The evening was completed with a dinner out in Whangarei where the nurses caught up on life and family news since graduating in 1988. Many attendees are still working in healthcare as specialist registered nurses, midwives, practice nurses and in health management.

For some graduates their nursing careers have led them onto other paths, but they have retained much of their knowledge, skills and caring attitude to be used in roles as diverse as homeopathy, children’s photography, counselling and pharmacy technician. Many nurses had also travelled overseas and used the benefit of their education to gain experience, with several of their former classmates still living and working overseas including in the UK, USA and Australia.

Christine Sapwell said the afternoon and evening was a wonderful celebration of a group of  nurses who had completed three years of study 30 years ago and had gone on to make a difference to so many people’s health and wellbeing. All had an ongoing commitment to improving health outcomes for people and contributing to wellbeing and health of whānau, particularly in Northland.

Christine said: “For all of us, nursing has been not just a career but a life choice that has led to a great range of positive experiences and was a reason to celebrate. The reunion group would like to thank NorthTec for supporting their gathering.”

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