Registered Nurse , Te Whare Mahana & Tira Motuhake Service
Another round of tertiary training didn’t deter Trish Sison from tackling the area of mental health nursing.
She grew up and studied in the Philippines, completing a degree level nursing qualification. But the NZ sector required her to re-study so she returned to tertiary training and completed a Bachelors Nursing Degree at WITT.
With two degrees to her name, she undertook further study, a postgraduate certificate in health sciences (mental health).
Now, as a registered nurse working in Te Whare Mahana & Tira Motuhake Service at Tui Ora, she speaks positively and warmly of the whānau whai ora she works alongside.
Trish is one of a 19-strong team that includes registered nurses and recovery support workers who work across different settings.
They support whānau to achieve their mental health and well-being when they live in Te Whare Mahana in Waitara; while the Tira Motuhake Service supports whānau to maintain mental health, well-being and independence in the community.
The job requires her to utilise standard nursing skills around assessing risk, providing care and giving and monitoring medication as well as safety planning and co-ordination with the health professionals involved in a person’s wellbeing.
Individuals have an allocated keyworker assigned to them as the contact for co-ordinated care, but nurses like Trish, working shifts and weekends, are available when allocated keyworkers can’t be.
“What I like about our work is we are there at the recovery stage so there are days when I go shopping and walking with whānau. Hospital mental health nurses in acute services don’t get to see that other part of a person, when they are getting well.
“Here, it’s a more hopeful environment because you see progress on a long-term basis. Mental health is a lifelong process and I’m in a privileged position to hold the torch for them. Those relationships are important because if things turn to custard there is a level of trust that helps people stay connected.”
Trish also enjoys the holistic, whānau ora approach that organisations like Tui Ora take, and coming from another country is comfortable with the role of culture in wellbeing.
“It reminds me of home because the Philippines is a very family-orientated country and whānau ora embodies that – the fact that people place value on welcoming each other, there’s always kai and a sense of hospitality.
“It might be Māori, I might be from the Philippines but if feels like home.”
As a part of the larger Tui Ora organisation, the service she works in can access a host of support for whānau – it might be the Day Activity Programme to provide activities, outings and social connection, the Physical Health Outcomes Programme to support a person’s physical wellbeing or vocational support services to help people return to employment or training.
These are on top of other clinical services – it means whānau care is comprehensive and culturally appropriate as well as support for kaimahi being strong and collegial.
“You are definitely making more of a difference than fixing up a wound and sending someone home. It’s a different kind of caring that I appreciate. So many parts are involved in it: Physical - because of the side effects of psychotic medication – as well as social, historical, cultural.”