Supporting Auckland MIQ "great way to help my community" says Napier mental health nurse

A Napier mental health nurse says working in Auckland Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities was her chance to do her bit for the community.

Registered nurse Raewyn Hill works with patients with a variety of mental health diagnoses, including schizophrenia, bipolar, depression and anxiety, in her Clinical Coordinator role at Napier-based Community Mental Health North. She was last year approached to temporarily help out in MIQ.

Many MIQ staff weren’t clinically trained to deal with mental health issues, says Ms Hill, who is also a casual staff member at the DHB's Emergency Mental Health Services and Rau Rakau Mental Health Inpatient Unit.

“We had a lot of people who were drawn to alcohol and having withdrawals, and a lot of self-harming, so with my mental health background I was able to give quite a bit of advice and practical guidance," she says. 

This included helping ensure people with mental health issues had the appropriate wraparound services, i.e. Child, Youth and Family Services, medication and arranging for a gentleman to be under constant observations.

“MIQ staff didn’t know what to do, they didn’t know how to do a mental state examination or how to support,” says Ms Hill, who has her Level 4 nursing portfolio, and completed her Nurse-Entry-To-Specialist-Practice training at Whitireia.

In some cases, Ms Hill helped get seriously unwell MIQ residents sent home early, to ensure they had support from whānau and friends.

“MIQ implemented some changes upon my advice.”

When Ms Hill’s colleagues asked her why she helped at MIQ, she replied she believed it was her duty.

“I’m a great believer in caring for the community, so it was a great way to help my nursing colleagues, as well as my community,” she says.

That belief has also translated through to her educational work around flu vaccinations.

“I organised the vaccination clinics last year, and did it here so staff didn’t have to go off site. I did an education for our staff and a lot of people changed their mind.”

Asked what she would say to people interested in nursing, Ms Hill has two pieces of advice: “You go for it” and “It’s never too late.”

“There are so many different avenues, you can start on the wards and end up in management if that is your goal. There are so many great opportunities at the DHB and they are very supportive of us staff. I’m very proud to be a nurse.”

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