Graduand nurses L-R Kimberley McAuley, Sara Kapoor (nee Hablous), Victoria Prendergast, Michelle Cameron
Four new nursing honours graduands in the Waikato are the first globally to qualify in an innovative programme that combines postgraduate study with a leadership programme.
The four students, (Michelle Cameron, Kimberley McAuley, Sara Hablous and Victoria Prendergast) have achieved the Nursing Honours degree based within Waikato District Health Board, and will graduate with first class honours in May.
One of these students, Victoria Prendergast, is continuing her studies this year with a Doctorate in Health Sciences investigating infectious disease outbreak in New Zealand, specifically modelling ebola spread.
In 2013, an initiative to increase the number of nursing leaders in the Waikato was developed by the University of Auckland and Waikato District Health Board.
The initiative combined an existing academic programme for top achieving nursing graduates from across the country with a pragmatic leadership mentoring programme delivered jointly by the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland and Waikato DHB.
Nurses on the two year programme worked on research directly relevant to Waikato, alongside senior managers across the DHB while continuing to study towards expanded nursing roles.
This initiative is the first of its kind internationally and promises significant rewards to these nurses as well as the Waikato DHB. The programme funding for the DHB was supported by Health Workforce NZ.
The aims of the programme include: enabling these nurses to develop key relationships with and understand the roles of senior managers and executive team members at Waikato DHB; work collaboratively with them around exploring issues pertinent to the DHB; develop research skills; and graduate with the Honours programme, giving them the option of enrolling in doctorate
“The new programme signals a different approach for us,” says Professor Matthew Parsons from the University of Auckland’s School of Nursing. “It allows us to focus strongly on the next generation of health leaders – supporting their development and giving them opportunities which would otherwise not have been there.”
He says it is “extremely rewarding to watch these young and very bright nurses grasp the opportunities available for them. We are excited by the new venture and can only see benefits for health care downstream.”
The Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Waikato DHB, Sue Hayward, says: “The joy of this programme was the ability to influence directly the research these nurses have undertaken and then support them with the application of the findings into practise.
“This is another pathway that nurses can embark on to almost fast track into leadership roles, breaking down the long held belief that a nurse must have been in the workplace for a good number of years before they are ready to take on challenges of leadership,” she says.
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