Clinic good for community health

HAUORA HEALTH CLINIC: Nursing student Waiharakeke Ruha-Hirake performs a health check on Brooke Reeves while watched over by registered nurse Hemaima Hughes. Photo supplied

A FREE hauora health clinic offered by Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi is benefitting students and the community.

The clinic is offered every year as part of the bachelor of health sciences Maori (nursing) programme.

During the clinic, first-year nursing students offer members of the community a free health check.

“It is beneficial for both the students and the community,” said year one co-ordinator Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford.

“It’s beneficial for our tauira (students), as it’s important they are confident with taking basic vitals before they have their aged-care placements in September … it is also beneficial for those in the community that wouldn’t have had access to a health check like this before.”

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Director of nursing, Doctor Deborah Rowe, said it was great to see students applying what they had learned in the classroom clinically while benefitting those in the community.

Each day the nursing students see about 30 patients, spending around 45 minutes with each one.

Students are supported by a registered nurse who has volunteered to help.

Some of these registered nurses were graduates of the programme themselves.

The health checks are holistic, focusing not only on the patient’s physical health, but also lifestyle factors which may impact their wellbeing.

For those who may struggle with the cost of seeing a GP the free health checks are a chance to have a better understanding of their health and for any potential issues to be addressed early, such as type one diabetes.

For many patients it is the first time they have been treated by a Maori nurse with knowledge of te reo Maori and their culture.

On Thursday, the clinic offered health services delivered exclusively in te reo for Ngati Awa kaumatua and kuia, a first-time experience for many.

First-year student Waiharakeke Ruha-Hiraka’s first language is te reo and, as she feels more comfortable speaking in her first language, she is glad she is completing a programme where it is supported.

Mrs Maxwell-Crawford said all cultures were welcome and it was not a purely Maori-based programme.

“People think our programme doesn’t lead to nursing jobs, but our nurses become registered nurses, they have job prospects; graduates have jobs,” said Mrs Maxwell-Crawford.

“Our nursing programme is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. It’s a real privilege to be part of a programme that benefits Maori health outcomes.

“Not only do we have clinically strong graduates, but they are also graduates who can deliver a safe and culturally appropriate service.”