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“Getting my nursing degree has given me so many career options for the future. I’m working in a medical ward at the hospital now and am building the base for my next 30 years for work and for family.”
Elizabeth had been working in beauty therapy for 15 years (including teaching at NorthTec) when she decided it was time for a change. “I wanted to be empowered at a higher level academically in order to progress, and nursing gives me a huge range of pathways to follow. But it was a big consideration to stop work and study for three years. It needed a commitment not just from me but also from the family and extended family that they were on board with the changes this would bring. We made it and it’s been really worthwhile”
“I loved the flexibility of the blended learning with some time in class, some in placements, and some online. It was a challenge to manage study and family time, but I think maturity brings a bit more self-discipline and motivation, and the tutor and family support were rock solid.”
“I did one of my placements at a renal and haemodialysis specialist facility and really enjoyed that work but I want to get a good general nursing grounding first so when I finished my degree I applied for a position in a medical ward. Now that I’m in the ward working, I realise that I utilise every bit of information that we learnt as students. It all comes together.”
“Since I’ve been working I feel a sense of empowerment. It’s inspiring to be doing something so useful, and it’s humbling at the same time. I have my self-doubts occasionally but I’m learning so much on the ward about protocol and disciplines and I get more skills every day, so I’m constantly up-levelling my confidence and competence.”
“Post graduate study is my next step, and once I feel I have a good general nursing grounding, I may specialise in some field. For now, the journey I’m on is showing me what the options may be.”
The learning environment here is so different from school. Our classmates are a mix of ages and we all support each...
“This course is putting me on the right path to where I want to go. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse but left school without level 3 and did correspondence for a while, so this is a good refresher me and is giving me confidence.”
“I love the classes and am amazed at my interest in human anatomy. I’ve even started to like maths. The learning environment here is so different from school. Our classmates are a mix of ages and we all support each other because we’re all here to move our lives forward. I enjoy the tutors too and find them really focused on helping us better ourselves.”
“From here I’ll go on to level 4 which will make it more likely that I’ll get into nursing. Later, my dream is to be a nurse practitioner in a clinic.”
All the students here are keen to learn and we’re all looking to step up and improve, and the tutors are wonderful...
“I was in hospital for a lot of my life and the nurses inspired me to start on the nursing training journey. Because I was fresh out of school, it seemed best to do this foundation course first. It’s great because I’m learning so much that will help me in my career, and I’m meeting a lot of new people and seeing how they work.”
“I’m really surprised at how much I’m enjoying human biology and how much I now know about it. I learnt biology at school but I didn’t have the same motivation. All the students here are keen to learn and we’re all looking to step up and improve, and the tutors are wonderful. They understand where we’re coming from and relate the info we’re learning to us and our lives.”
“From here I want to go on and do level 4 so then will have a better chance of being accepted into nursing.”
“It’s interesting how my dream has changed. I wanted to become a flight attendant or get into hospitality but spending so much time in hospital inspired a fresh focus. I’m now forming a new dream to be a really good nurse and to be able to impact other people’s lives in my own way.”
I’m one of 11 siblings and I’ll be the first one to get a degree. It’s making my whānau proud and it is also self...
“I had a few interactions with the health profession as a young mother of two. Some of those were positive and some were negative, but there was one nurse who was really supportive to me at a time that mattered, and that had a lot of impact on me. I knew then that I wanted to help people when they felt vulnerable.”
“I also knew that I was ready to study, and to make a change, and doing my nursing degree through NorthTec has enabled that. Because the delivery of the course is 80 per cent off campus, I can study and still be at home with my tamariki. It suits my current situation but also requires a lot of discipline and motivation when there’s a lot happening at home. It’s easier in some ways when we step into work placement.”
“The more I see and learn, the more I realise that there are a lot of different realities and health disparities. Health is holistic and includes whānau, physical, mental, social, spiritual, financial and community aspects. It’s very validating that our course covers and explores all of these.”
“Even though we’re off campus a lot, we stay connected as students. We’re a diverse group and we’re all doing our training for different reasons. The tutors go above and beyond to see that we achieve our goals. They check in on us and are available 24/7 if needed.”
“By getting my nursing degree I’ll be able to give back to my whānau, hapū and iwi. I’m one of 11 siblings and I’ll be the first one to get a degree. It’s making my whānau proud and it is also self-rewarding. My whānau is my motivation.”
“When I complete my degree, I want to get as much experience in as many areas of nursing as I can. My dream is then to be a nurse practitioner and go back to my Turangawaewae in the Hokianga and work with my whānau. I belong to the hapū of Te Hikutu, I’m of Ngāpuhi descent and I’m a proud Māori nurse. I’m starting to see and be part of the change movement in nursing.”
"I had no qualifications and minimal family or other support, so the complete wrap-around support I’ve received here...
“I was working full time in an ordinary job and wanted an education in something that was mine to do. Nursing is it for me and I got accepted for both Auckland and here but chose to come to NorthTec because of the more flexible curriculum and fewer financial barriers. I had no qualifications and minimal family or other support, so the complete wrap-around support I’ve received here is something I’ve never experienced in my life before.”
“I’ve made new friends and have set myself on a whole new life path. I was an urbanized Māori and NorthTec really enables Māori to succeed. I also didn’t know my Māori culture so I have been able to learn more about that than I ever knew before.”
“During the course of my study I’ve had some personal issues that have made the course 10 times harder than it needed to be, but I knew I could reach out and get support. If I had been studying at any other place, I would have left. With that support, I’m amazed at how confident I’ve become. Our class is more like a family. This course tears you down and builds you up - but in a good way.”
“The education I’ve gained here is far broader than our nursing training. It’s also an education about life and services. I’m caring for my younger siblings and being at NorthTec has helped me find resources that are available to support that. The facilities here are so accessible and the tutors here are flexible enough to accommodate all walks of life.”
“When I graduate as a Registered Nurse, I want to get a job to get some general nursing experience, then I want to work in sexual health. There is so much need in that area and any further training is mostly on the job.”
“NorthTec has given me the confidence to build on my education and to become successful. We are valued here and our thoughts are valued. For Māori students, there is a positive pathway to success that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”
This course has really opened my eyes to the value of mainstream education. Before starting this course, I had been...
“I managed to take myself off WINZ and was working in hospitality and hairdressing, but the hours were too long to fit in with looking after my daughter. I realized I wanted a solid day job that pays more than the minimum wage if I’m going to stay in New Zealand, so I decided to improve my study skills and get into nursing.”
“I’m behind in the basics because my parents moved a lot and I went to heaps of different Maori schools before going to my first mainstream school in Australia when I was 12.”
“This course has really opened my eyes to the value of mainstream education. Before starting this course, I had been too scared and embarrassed to get help but the support is here. I’m amazed that I’m loving studying Human Biology. I never thought I’d be interested in something so technical but it fascinates me so much that I do extra work. I also love how the course links subjects - like using data analysis from our Human Biology in our IT class.”
“All of it though has been a huge challenge. One of the biggest things for me is having the discipline to distance myself from the distraction of my social networks – even from the other students. I’ve re-thought what’s important.”
“I’ll finish my course here then plan to move to Whangarei in December ready to apply for the nursing course. I’d love to help others learn about our biology and why it matters. My ultimate dream is to own my own house so that I know my daughter has somewhere to call home. That, to me, would be a real achievement.”
“Prepare to be inspired - by the tutors, the students and the patients. And, prepare to be successful and rise to the...
“Making the decision to study Nursing as a mature student is a hard call that can have serious ramifications – and very satisfying rewards. It requires preparedness. Prepare to be challenged in your workload, your relationships and your life. Prepare to be inspired - by the tutors, the students and the patients. And, prepare to be successful and rise to the responsibilities that come with that.”
“I had worked in the public service for 10 years before deciding I was ready for a career rather than a job, and to get myself up to speed for studying I began with the Foundation course. Now that I’ve nearly completed my nursing degree, I realise how special the journey has been.”
“One of the stand-outs is the way the course is structured. Each bracket has an over-arching theme so the papers come together really well. Within that structure, the tutors hold us close at the beginning while we find our feet, then they gradually loosen their grip and walk beside us until we’re ready to walk on ahead without them. It’s quite beautiful.”
“The workload is quite intense at times so balancing life and study can be a challenge, and another challenge for me has been myself. I’ve often been in my own way by either over-thinking or under-thinking things but the tutors and the work itself helped me get things back into perspective.”
“The holistic nature of nursing is embedded in the curriculum and it was a surprise to learn social work and personal skills to put in our kete of taonga. We now get to bring - and be - those things in both our work and our families. I loved too that our course includes students from different cultures and we all bring different dishes to feast from at the same table. We lean on each other and to push each other. Sometimes we were in step and sometimes we were off beat, but somehow we all managed to come together in the end.”
“When I graduate, I’m interested in doing further training so I can work in oncology, but in the meantime I’ll continue with my local community work. This gives me creative ideas about how I can best help and maybe I’ll blaze a new trail with these nursing skills. I’m learning that life is about being the best version of you.”
Laura’s dedication to nursing was recognised when she received the ACE Primary Health Care Award in 2015 for her work...
Laura was in hospital as a patient herself when she realised nursing was what she would love to devote her life to. “During the hospital visits I noticed all the different ways I was treated, so I knew I could help give people a good patient care experience.”
Laura was still quite sick when she enrolled for the nursing course and had to push herself to begin. “I did a year in enrolled nursing first so I could get accepted for the degree, and then during the three-year nurse training process, I got well.”
“Studying at NorthTec meant I could continue to live at home, and the supportive environment and small class sizes helped reduce my anxiety at a time when I was vulnerable. The mix of online work, hands-on experience, and lectures also made the study possible for me.”
Since graduating, Laura has continued to study while working in three different clinics. “I was keen to work out in the community so I got a practice nurse position at a GP clinic in Kaitaia, then worked as sole nurse at another branch of that clinic in Coopers Beach, and now I am a practice nurse at a medical clinic in Whangarei. Working in rural medical centres plus in the Whangarei one I am working in now, has meant I’ve learned a lot very quickly.”
Laura’s dedication to nursing was recognised when she received the ACE Primary Health Care Award in 2015 for her work as a sole nurse in Coopers Beach.
“I’m passionate about bringing great nursing care into our communities and my ambition now is to work as a Nurse Practitioner. This would give me more autonomy and more reward, and I am now working towards my Master’s degree in nursing so I can then do the training as a Nurse Practitioner.”
“NorthTec is a great place to learn. The atmosphere at NorthTec is the best part - it’s a small campus and you get to...
I’m a different person with regards to my confidence, skills and self-esteem since I’ve done my nursing training and...
“I’m a different person with regards to my confidence, skills and self-esteem since I’ve done my nursing training and started working in the hospital 18 months ago. I love it and am amazed at my progress and at what I can offer.”
“I didn’t finish school and was pregnant at a young age, so when I decided nursing was my calling I started with foundation studies level 3 and 4. Our tutors took time out to help us on a personal basis and that care helped get me through. They were like on-campus kaitiaki for us.”
“Early in the course I wasn’t sure of my area of interest but then I had a placement in the paediatric ward and I knew that was it for me. When I finished my degree I applied for a new graduate position on the paediatric ward at Whangarei Hospital. The morning of our whakawatea (farewell from NorthTec) I received a phone call from my manager saying I’d got the job. To find out you have a job before state final results are out and before you even graduate is crazy. I was overwhelmed, I couldn't believe it and I actually cried.”
“Our nursing training was prefect preparation for my job. The number of placements was a good balance with the theory, so the course gave me the confidence to take my place on the ward. The managers here express their confidence in our ability and practice by giving us roles and they've made me Resource Nurse for a few shifts now so I must be doing something right. At first I was extremely nervous because I’ve only been practising for a little over 18 months, however on ward 2 we have a really supportive team so my senior nurses embraced me and supported me to step up.”
“Now that I’ve completed my NETP (Nurse Entry to Practice) and had a peaceful year off study, I plan to finish my post-grad study next year, get my registration to practice in Australia, and go over to Melbourne. I'd love to go to Australia to get some experience and of course to earn some money, then come home and give back.”
“My dream goal for my career is to one day be the clinical manager of the paediatric ward here at Whangarei Hospital.”
We’re very lucky that NorthTec and the DHB work so closely together to ensure our training is the best fit for what...
“I was motivated to train as a nurse when my Poppa got sick and I watched my Nana struggling to be his care-giver. I wanted to understand how to best support her. Sadly she later got unwell too and my Poppa is now in a rest home.”
“I have been working at the long-stay surgical ward at the hospital since finishing my degree and it is where I did my elective. I wanted to be in ICU but they don’t take graduates, so this is the next best decision and I’m so glad I’m here. It is the ward where the ICU patients are transferred to. It is such a good grounding here for nursing in general and for working in ICU later if I choose to.”
“My NorthTec training aligns perfectly with I’m doing now out on the ward. We’re very lucky that NorthTec and the DHB work so closely together to ensure our training is the best fit for what they want from graduates. The tutors are fantastically supportive and I still have conversations now with them. Our small classes mean we got to know each other really well, often when we were tired and stressed, so we have a built-in professional network now to call on that we know and trust.”
“My biggest challenge was that I was working part time as a retail sales assistant at the same time as trying to fit in placements and study. I had to do this until my last year, and my advice is that if you don’t have to work, don’t. It’s too stressful.”
“I applied for my position at the hospital when I finished my degree, and as with other nurses, found out the day after my exams, that I had the job. Even though our training is such a good fit, the real learning starts once you start working. You’re totally responsible for your own decisions. You have to find the evidence, make your decision and take the action, and by doing that repeatedly, you build confidence. There’s plenty of staff support and I keep asking questions so it’s a time of huge growth and is very fulfilling work.”
“I start my post grad study later in the year and I’ll probably choose to focus on surgical nursing for my second year. I’m in the right place, doing what I want to be doing.”
I am so happy working at the orthopaedic ward now. Everything I studied is relevant to my job here and I’m applying...
“My first experience of nurses was a bad one. My brother broke his neck when he was 15 and the way the nurse treated him and our family made things really hard for my parents and my brother at a time when we were all very vulnerable.”
“When I was leaving school, I had no direction for my future but a friend was doing nursing and suggested I’d be good at it. I then remembered that first nursing incident and realised I’d like to make a positive difference to people at a hard point in their lives, so I signed up.”
“Initially I found the assignments daunting but the tutors were dedicated and totally there for us, so they helped made it easy. During my training I was surprised to find I had a love for working with older adults. My grandparents are relatively young so I had no experience with older people. One of my placements was in a rest home and I found I just wanted to reach out to the people there and wrap them up with love.”
“Later my elective was in the orthopaedic ward at the Whangarei Hospital where we were also working with older people and I realised the importance of simply treating them with respect and dignity. I also really enjoyed the supportive environment of that whole ward so when I finished my degree I applied for a position there and got the job – subject to my results. I took the summer off and then there was the scary wait until heard that I had passed.”
“I am so happy working at the orthopaedic ward now. Everything I studied is relevant to my job here and I’m applying it in practice. I’m growing in confidence in this really supportive environment and I like the mix of older and younger people that we care for. It’s satisfying giving them the support they need.”
“I’ll continue to learn and get more experience here for a quite a while and see where my career takes me. I’m keen to go overseas sometime and maybe volunteer somewhere. There are so many types of nursing and so many places it can take you.”
The practical component of the course really prepares you for work. From day one we were in the hospital environment...
“Throughout high school I was involved with dance and performing arts however I decided that I wanted a stable and long term career and Nursing had always appealed to me. I finished my Bachelor of Nursing through NorthTec in 2014 and currently work as a Specialty Clinical Nurse in Youth Health for the Northland District Health Board.”
"My time at NorthTec was probably the most enjoyable three years of my life. Even though we were often faced with serious situations, I loved going into the hospital or communities and being able to offer care whilst being surrounded by supportive tutors, preceptors and classmates. The tutors helped many of us through personal crises which made it obvious that they really care about our wellbeing.”
“The practical component of the course really prepares you for work. From day one we were in the hospital environment making beds and taking blood pressures, then later in rest homes, communities or specialist areas. The theory is equally relevant and prepares you for further postgraduate study.”
“In my second year I had placements in a busy medical ward, and in the community with a public health nurse. Then in my third year, I was placed in the Emergency Department in Whangarei. Although at first apprehensive, I really enjoyed my placement there and was fortunate enough to work there during my new graduate year.”
“I have always had a passion for working with youth and I am so pleased to have this amazing opportunity. I work at various secondary schools around the Whangarei and Kaipara area running self-referral clinics and undertaking health assessments. I certainly deal with a whole range of challenges but I love my job and feel extremely satisfied and rewarded at the end of every day.”
“I love the work and continue to gain confidence and knowledge. The first time I realised how much I have learned was when I had my first NorthTec student to train. I have since been a preceptor for five NorthTec students and have noticed that they all show great initiative, have practical skills and are keen to work and learn."
“I’m keen to continue my own learning and I have completed my postgraduate certificate in Advanced Nursing. From here, I’ll see what unfolds.”
I am now very grateful to be working in a job I love as a practice nurse at Onerahi Family Healthcare Centre. I’ve...
“I am from a medical family, with my dad a nurse specialist, and my mum a podiatrist, and they have both empowered me and inspired me to chase my calling of nursing.”
“It started with going on a few mission trips to Tonga with church. I was about eleven when I first went, assisting with medical care. Seeing the deep need and poverty there struck something in my heart. It was then I thought of the possibility of becoming a nurse.”
“I volunteered for a time at the Hospice Inpatients unit before beginning my nursing degree through NorthTec. Stand-outs of the course were the supportive tutors and classmates, and being able to work with patients and bring smile to their faces in the midst of their pain. It was the only reward I needed.”
“Throughout my degree, I struggled a lot with anxiety and panic attacks, but with support from my family and friends, along with my husband encouraging me to get professional help, I was able to begin my journey of recovery and success. I remember standing at the Whakawatea (NorthTec Marae farewell), and looking back at how far I had come, knowing that I wouldn’t be standing where I was without God’s help and my mum’s prayers.”
“Early in the degree, I wasn’t sure what area of nursing I would be interested in, until my placement in my local Onerahi community medical centre. I really enjoyed the variety of the work and the great team I worked alongside.”
“My final placement was at the same medical centre where I further grew in my skills, and was greatly supported by the team there, especially with the stress and panic I felt at times. It was really encouraging knowing I wasn’t alone when I asked for help, and that the skills I grew during those hard times have enabled me to be a more empathetic nurse, especially in the area of mental health struggles.”
“I am now very grateful to be working in a job I love as a practice nurse at Onerahi Family Healthcare Centre. I’ve grown a lot in confidence and in my ability to know I can help others thanks to NorthTec’s fantastic degree. My goal is to continue to grow my nursing skills, give back to my local community, and to do more study in the areas of mental health, and wound care management.”
“So, I encourage you to chase your dreams, and to know it’s OK to ask for help to get to them.”
“The special thing about the NorthTec course is that we learn the theory then get to apply it straight away in our...
Lennaa Saunders loves learning and loves Northland. “I have just graduated as a registered nurse and have already enrolled into a graduate programme to support my work at Whangarei Hospital.”
Lennaa has been accepted for the NETP programme which is a 12 month support programme within the DHB. “Every DHB has a NETP co-ordinator and has a number of positions to fill with new grads each year. I applied through ACE and Northland DHB look favourably on NorthTec trained nurses. You have to stand out in some way regarding wanting to work in your region.”
For Lennaa, wanting to work in Northland was a given. “I’m a born and raised Northlander and wanted to stay here to give back to our region and contribute to making Northlanders healthier.”
Lennaa has a 12 month contract for a .8 fixed term position as a nurse on Ward 16, a general medical ward at Whangarei hospital. “I applied to this ward after working there for my 10 week elective placement in my last term of training. I love it because, as a generic medical ward, there is so much variety making it a brilliant learning environment. Not one day is the same. There is a great team of people working here in an incredibly supportive culture.”
Being part of NETP adds even more support to Lennaa’s first year working as a nurse. “This programme offers you structured support and a preceptor, so there is always someone to talk things over with. The DHB know that we new graduates need support in order to continue to build our skill levels. This supportive environment is important to retain confident, skilled new graduate nurses who are the future work force.”
As part of the NETP programme, Lennaa is also sitting a post graduate paper through Auckland University. “This goes towards my Post Graduate Certificate in Nursing and it opens the pathway for further study as well as professional development. The paper is called N777 and looks at specific conditions within populations relating to my work environment. It involves assignments, a verbal presentation and a clinical examination.”
When Lennaa completes her 12 month work contract she hopes to continue at Whangarei Hospital to gain more experience, but ultimately she would like to travel. “I’m only 22 and there is so much I want to see, learn and experience. The NorthTec Nursing Degree is fantastic because it is a highly regarded internationally recognized qualification.”
“I’d like to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing through Auckland University by correspondence while I am working. I think it is important to be a life time learner and keep abreast with advances and changes within the nursing profession.”
Lennaa feels her NorthTec training has set her up for unlimited options for her future. “Eventually, I want to travel and work and I’m excited about what possibilities may open up. Choosing to study at NorthTec meant I had the convenience of living at home and enjoying the great beaches and environment of Northland. I was also able to work part time and keep up with friends and family here. Plus, I’m not starting my career with a huge student loan.”
“The NorthTec tutors were all fantastic - particularly in their level of support. They were committed, passionate and were readily available to guide us. During the last year the focus was on preparing us for work. This included preparing us for interviews and learning how to present ourselves confidently and professionally.”
Now Lennaa is settling into her new job and looking towards her future. “I’m keen to learn, gain experience, soak up knowledge and take advantage of each and every learning opportunity.”
Read more about NorthTec's nursing programme