There are master artisans, specialists in academia and medicine – and expert nurses called Nurse Practitioners.
Jenny Kissick recently qualified as one such ‘expert’ nurse, meaning she is a registered nurse who has completed extra study and advanced training. It enables her to carry out tasks beyond that of a registered nurse, and work in a complementary manner with colleagues at Tui Ora Family Health in Westown, New Plymouth.
The role requires nurses to complete a master's degree with a clinical focus, and just a handful of nurses practitioners are operating in Taranaki, says Jenny, who obtained her qualification last December.
Nurse practitioners work independently and prescribe a wide range of treatments in their specialist areas. Jenny describes it as offering the whole package of care. She can diagnose a patient, order and interpret test results, prescribe medication, refer and provide follow up care.
Now she is qualified she will be able to provide a more holistic and complete service for patients. Tui Ora Family Health is unique in offering extra support, which could include using its outreach practice nurse or other community team members, she says.
“Knowing the patient is getting supported in the community for their other needs fits with why I’m a nurse. You want to provide the best care, support and preventive care and you can do that here.”
Jenny started at Tui Ora four years ago and before that worked for over a decade in South Taranaki as a district nurse, rest home nurse manager and practice nurse.
Her colleague Joyleen Connell has also taken on a new role. Formerly a receptionist, she qualified as a MCA in 2016.
Her year-long study involved completion of two level four national certificates – a health certificate as well as a business administration and computing paper. She juggled study alongside her job, and is thrilled to have the extra work out of the way so she can get stuck into the role.
“I love the people, I like that everybody is different and everyone is on their own journey. It’s really rewarding taking that journey with them and providing some knowledge and advice to improve their personal situation.”
She is keen to enhance the role by offering additional services such as supporting those who need nutritional advice. “I would like to look at more papers to compliment my position so we will see what happens.”
* Tui Ora Family Health completed a major renovation of its premises on Maratahu St with an official opening on February 16. It is recruiting for more GPs and hopes to take on new patients in the near future.