Nursing student takes to life on the front line

8 October 2021

Nursing student takes to life on the front line

A NorthTec nursing student found himself on the front line of the fight against Covid during his clinical placement with a Whangārei health provider.

Daniel Manihera was part-way through his placement with Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust’s Hauora Centre when the Delta outbreak occurred in mid-August.

A second-year student on the Bachelor of Nursing programme, Daniel took the sudden lockdown and inevitable changes to his placement in stride. 

He said: “I started my first few days sitting in on assessments with nurses, meeting the community, delivering and picking up medications, the nurses taught me to take bloods, and I did some influenza vaccinations. Then suddenly I was on the Covid vaccination lines where I could support the nurses and help with the vaccination trolley making sure everything was sterile. It was awesome.”

Daniel worked alongside the nurses, helping patients in the queues and filling in where needed. He also distributed food to whānau in need during alert levels 4 and 3, through Te Hau Āwhiowhio’s partnership with Food Rescue.

Daniel said: “We got a truckload of fresh fish one day. I was giving people two big fish with their vaccinations. Depending on the size of the family, I'd give them four or six. They also got a little care kit which consisted of hand sanitiser, some wipes, disposable masks, and a rongoā (Māori medicine) kit which consisted of kūmarahou balm and Te Uri Taniwha sanitiser and lollipops for the tamariki. It was great. People were very grateful.”

The sudden thrust into pandemic nursing work agreed with Daniel, solidifying his belief that he was on the path to a fulfilling career where he would have the chance to make a difference in the lives of his community and whānau. He relished the opportunity to help the local community, saying: “That’s why I’m here, doing this. This was the priority, and that is what the job is about.”

Dr Bev MacKay, NorthTec’s Nursing Pathway Manager, said Daniel’s experience was a great example of the health workforce changing priorities and adapting to the environment, especially during the Covid pandemic. She said: “It gave him an opportunity to gain valuable experience and knowledge at the front line of the nursing workforce, and learn some new skills as well as practicing the skills he has already learned.”

For Daniel, the sudden change of focus in his placement was truly inspiring: “It opened my eyes to where I can go. There’s no limit.”

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