Lisa Penberthy: Registered Nurse Prescriber, Totara Health

Caring for the community drives Lisa Penberthy in her work as a Registered Nurse Prescriber at Totara Health.

“I love my job as we have a real focus on community need. We are a low-cost health provider for Hastings and Flaxmere communities and that is at the heart of my healthcare.”

Lisa came to nursing later in life having raised a family and worked in sales.

Now with the support of Totara Health, she’s on the pathway to becoming a Nurse Practitioner which means she can work more independently.

After Cyclone Gabrielle, Lisa heard that evacuees were being taken to the Bayview Hotel so gathered clothing and blankets and offered to help. She was introduced to Kate Te Pou and Ruth Miller who had set up an emergency clinic and asked to take the afternoon shift.

“We worked into the night by candlelight until a generator arrived a few days later. It was pretty full-on.

A steady stream of people came for all kinds of reasons but the overwhelming need was community and being supported. Wounds, bruises, stress, and people who just couldn’t turn off from the horror they had experienced. We worked closely with the pharmacists to get people the medication they needed and had lost.”

The clinic team had many generous offers of help from all walks of health and had security keeping them and the hotel safe. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins also visited to see the mahi going on in the community.

“It was a massive effort and beautiful to see the good in people in time of crisis. I felt really privileged to have worked with people who have the same community spirit as I, and just did what we could to help a community that had been devastated. The tears and emotions of that time will stay with me forever.”

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