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Ka wani kē Tutira!

Recently achieving Registered Nurse Prescriber in Community Health (RNPCH) status, Ruatoria Practice Nurse, mama of 6 tamariki and loving partner to Manuel Hovell, Tutira Poi, can now assess and prescribe a limited number of medicines approved by the Nursing Council of NZ for minor ailments and illnesses in normally healthy people without significant health problems.

We were lucky enough to learn more about Tutira’s nursing journey and experiences during the RNPCH course.


Where did your nursing journey begin?

I think my nursing journey began in Rangitukia. I was still attending Ngata College and living with my grandparents. I remember my nan Harai Collier taking me with her to a Mirimiri Workshop/Wananga held at Ohinewaiapu and Hinepare Marae, she was like my patient where I learnt mirimiri techniques and the use of kawakawa rongoa. From then on, after school, I would mirimiri my nan on a daily basis, where she felt this improved her wellbeing. Nan would often say to me that I’d make a good nurse. I didn’t take that on until years later.

I finished high school and moved to Australia with friends where I worked at Bourke Hospital in the outback north west of Dubbo, then moving to Brighten-Le-Sands in Sydney, working in a rest home for a few years before I started my own family.

I then returned home to New Zealand, as I wanted to bring up my babies here. Now living in Gisborne, I decided to pursue my nursing career in 2008 at Tairawhiti Polytech UCOL (now EIT) and graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Nursing in 2011. I can say this journey was not easy, and was challenging especially studying with 4 kids at the time. I remember I just kept pushing through those tough times and persevered.

After graduating, I commenced the Nursing Entry to Practice (NETP) Program at Albert Park Rest Home in February 2011 until its closure, where I then transferred over to the newly built Beetham Healthcare in August 2011. I was one of the first nurses on night shifts to work there. Beetham will always have a special place in my heart, I loved working there. I remember returning home from New York Marathon, when the news about Covid first hit. I left Beetham to work for Ngati Porou Oranga at Te Puia Hospital CBAC, travelling daily from Gisborne to do Covid swabbing. Then my whanau decided to move home to live in the whanau home in Te Araroa. I started working at the Matakaoa Clinic as the Practice Nurse for about 2 years before moving over to work at the Ruatoria Clinic.


You know first hand what its like for whanau to travel- long lengths for healthcare. How do you find working in a rural setting?

It can be very challenging working in a rural setting. In town (Gisborne) you’ve got everything, whereas here on the Coast, us nurses are everything, we are basically it and hope for the best when we have no doctor onsite.


What drove you to complete the RNPCH course?

It was a last minute thing to jump on the course. It took me less than 6 months to complete. Being in the clinic with no doctor most of the time can be tough. I felt doing this course would enable me to prescribe when no doctor is available onsite. I don’t have to hoha the doctor onsite or phone to find a doctor at all the coast clinics to give me the ok to give patients something as simple as antibiotics.


Do you have any acknowledgements?

Heck yeah!

First, my parents who have always been supportive throughout my nursing career and are still supportive.

My nursing tutor Adriana Grogan who pushed me to complete my Bachelors Degree because I nearly gave up.

Nurse Practitioner Kylie Morressey who taught me catheter changes in the rest home.

PN Shirley Parata who orientated me to the Practice Nurse Role when I started at Matakaoa Clinic.

Kaiawhina Moko Williams who taught me how to do bloods. I was terrified at first and I was shaking, the patient was even laughing at me. I can still hear Moko telling me “You can do it Toots’’ lol. I'm now confident in this invaluable skill which isa must while on the Coast.

Dr Elina Pekansaari my GP mentor throughout my RNPCH course and still is. She is very knowledgeable, keeps up-to-date with best practice national guidelines, always putting things into words that we could easily understand. Dr Elina mentioned to me, I have the potential to go on to become a Nurse Practitioner. I can see a need for that on the Coast so am looking into it.

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