Hauora Heretaunga staff leading the way in improving access to care

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s acting chief nurse and midwifery officer Karyn Bousfield is thrilled to see nurses at Hauora Heretaunga leading the way in improving access to care for our community, by becoming Registered Nurse Prescribers.

Four out of six Hawke’s Bay nurses newly able to prescribe medications are from just one practice: Hauora Heretaunga at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Camberley.

“It’s a remarkable achievement for both Hauora Heretaunga and their nursing team, it’s a big commitment to both themselves and their patients,” Ms Bousfield said.

Practice manager Julia Ebbett says the whole practice team is “proud and thrilled” to have had so many graduate with an EIT diploma in Health Science Registered Nurse prescribing.

“It is a testament to the graduates that they have been prepared to take on a heavy study load on top of their already busy work days to increase their skills.”

The four nurses, Sonia Pedersen, Davina Te Ngahue, Roger Parr and MaryAnne DeLaHaye, missed their formal graduation ceremony as they, along with many thousands of others, were due to celebrate just as COVID-19 lockdown started in March.

That meant the celebrations were a little muted, although celebratory cap throwing did occur in Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga’s car park – at physically appropriate distances.

Their qualification means the nurses are able to prescribe medications for a defined range of conditions, including asthma, anxiety, heart failure, gout, and common skin conditions and infections, from a specified list of medicines.

Helping patients, sharing the practice workload and career development were among the reasons the nurses gave for undertaking study to be able to prescribe medications.

“As well as helping improve our patients access to health care, I want to continue expanding my knowledge in nursing.  I am working towards my career goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. This is very much a step towards that,” said Ms Te Ngahue.

Ms Pedersen, Hauora nurse lead, said being seen by a prescribing nurse worked well for patients. “It means for simpler things, for example scabies or a urinary tract infection, we are able to assess and provide full treatment including medication. The access for treatment is more accessible and less time is wasted allowing better health outcomes. It also meant doctors were freed up to see patients with more complex issues.

The diploma included a very strong practical component, working under a prescribing supervisor. “As nurses, we want to help people. This is just another way in which we can achieve that.”

The four nurses were not the only Hauora team members to successfully complete prescribing study last year. Martin Munyaradzi, a Hawke’s Bay District Health Board pharmacist based at Hauora Heretaunga, completed his training through the University of Auckland. “I thought having a pharmacist prescriber on our team would provide more efficient and effective patient car for our patients,  in  line with the Ministry of Health’s desire for better, sooner and more convenient access to services for patients.”

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