Our second nursing whānau we’re shining a light on is Raiquel and Niki Te Puni.
Name: Raiquel Te Puni
What nursing role do you do? Nurse coordinator: NETP (Programme for new graduate nurses in their 1st year)
How long have you been working as a nurse? I graduated 1998
Who influenced you to become a nurse? Emergency nursing always excited me. At the time there was a programme called ER that I liked. People would ask me if I was a nurse or Dr because I would assist with sports injuries at sports games. I got tired of saying No. While I was pregnant with my fourth child, I decided to apply to nursing, so I guess myself and the support of my whānau.
Where did you study? NorthTec
Have you seen many changes in nursing since you graduated? Yes. Nursing has become broader, especially with the recognition of Nurse Practitioners, specialist nursing and prescribing. New graduate nurses are recognised as a vital part of the workforce development.
What further changes would you like to see in the future? Improved nursing model of care that reflect the current times with COVID-19 and the nursing shortage. Employment of all Māori nurses to address equity. Safer staffing conditions and better pay equity across DHBs, Primary Health and Māori providers.
There must be no end of highlights in your career. Can you give us one that stands out? Nursing in paediatrics has always been gratifying for me, as has working with new graduate nurses but probably my daughter's graduation and watching her grow to be a great nurse.
Would you recommend nursing as a career path? Yes, once you're a nurse, it's yours! The opportunities are limitless and ever-changing. Being there during the most vulnerable times for people is what makes my career.
Name: Niki Te Puni
What nursing role do you do? Practice Nurse
How long have you been working as a nurse? I graduated in August 2020
Who influenced you to become a nurse? The thrill of emergency nursing initially, then as my daughter was diagnosed with bronchiectasis at 3years old, my Mum encouraged me and continues to be my rock, mentor, and biggest supporter!
Where did you study? NorthTec, Whangārei
Have you seen many changes in nursing since you graduated? Yes, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and working in primary healthcare. Having to adapt at short notice and think outside the box to provide care was challenging at times but exciting.
What further changes would you like to see in the future? More funding and resources to address ongoing existing inequities – time to address them for good!!
There must be no end of highlights in your career. Can you give us one that stands out? For me, it's the everyday care and assistance we can provide across the life span of our patients. It's being able to help with access to something as simple as a shower – when a patient is going on two years of 'cat' washing from being lost in the system to finally having a full functioning shower and improving quality of life – the basics we take for granted. Also, the preventative work we do in the community, such as immunisations and cervical smear screening and understanding its importance – that everyday mahi is what I enjoy the most.
Would you recommend nursing as a career path? Yes definitely! We have a great Nursing programme right here at home in Whangārei, from NorthTec to Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP), to the hospital or the community. I am currently on my Nurse Practitioner pathway and about to complete my post-graduate certificate – the opportunities in Nursing are endless! You never know who you are inspiring or the life-changing impact you can have on a patient - If we know better, we must do better…