Let’s hear it for our nurses!

International Nurses Day celebrates an incredible workforce that has gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic.

“The people who are coming through our scholarship programme have heart. That’s what matters for the people we serve.” – Deputy Chief Nursing Officer Wendy Stanbrook-Mason

Through our Rise scholarship programme, we can all build a stronger nursing workforce by empowering student nurses to overcome obstacles and succeed in their careers.

By mid-2021, our Rise scholarship donors had helped nearly 50 nursing and midwifery students prepare to enter the workforce. Without their support, these aspiring nurses simply wouldn’t have the means to follow their chosen career path.

Auckland Hospital’s nursing development unit, Manawa Awhi, is with our scholarship recipients every step of the way. Deputy Chief Nursing Officer Wendy Stanbrook-Mason said the programme is all about creating pathways and breaking down barriers for students: “It is about creating opportunities, not just financial ones. Building our nursing and midwifery workforce is a key focus of our organisation.”

Hayden Erick (above) is a nurse educator in Manawa Awhi, where he coordinates nursing student placements.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my role is the ability to support other people’s wellbeing and aspirations, whether it be patients, student nurses or staff.

How has it been working during the pandemic?

It’s been really tough, we all experience and process stress in different ways. I’ve enjoyed learning and being part of different project groups like vaccinating and working in different clinical areas. I have a really supportive team made up of senior nurses in Manawa Awhi, and we have pulled together to support each other’s projects at Auckland Hospital.

I feel really fortunate to be able to work. I know people are struggling financially and being able to earn a living throughout Covid-19 has been a blessing. Lockdown life is stressful, and I definitely thank my wife for being at home looking after our children while working at the same time. Our kids are amazing, and it’s a reflection of their loving and supportive environment at home that my wife creates.

What do your family and friends think of your job? Have you been worried for them during the pandemic?

I have never really asked this question. I hope they think I’m a hero. I generally go home and try not to take work home with me. I always think about my family as they are the foundation of my own wellbeing. I think my family and I have been OK at home, and we have a lot in life to be thankful for.

Elsie Smith (above) is a nurse in Auckland Hospital’s ORL, which specialises in ear, nose, throat, head and neck disorders.

What is the best thing about your job?

I have learnt so many skills in otorhinolaryngology (ORL), especially looking after patients with head and neck cancer. I am one of two Pacific nurses on the ward and the best thing about my role is being an advocate for our Pacific patients.

How has it been working during the pandemic?

It has been stressful at times, especially during the first lockdown, not knowing what the future held and having to reassure patients who were anxious about COVID-19. A low point has been seeing a few close friends who weren’t vaccinated leave their jobs, and my high point has been working with colleagues that understand and help one another during the pandemic.

What do your family and friends think of your job? Have you been worried for them during the pandemic?

My family is very supportive of my role, but they also feel worried at times because of the virus. They appreciate my role and the work all nurses do in the hospital and the community, working around the pandemic.

At the start of the first lockdown I was very worried because I look after my mum who is in her 70s and my child who was 10 years old at the time. I have to make sure that they are safe and that I am safe at work.


Click here for information about our Rise scholarship programme, and how you can support the future of our nursing workforce.