First year Bachelor of Nursing students at Whitireia are putting their learning into practice by offering free health checks and sharing information on good health at student-run Health Promotion Days in Petone, Porirua and on the Kāpiti coast.
Students manage the events from start to finish, initially researching the community they are targeting to ensure that what they are sharing is helpful and relevant.
For example, in Porirua, students focus on younger members of the population and set up four stands covering nutrition, ‘getting active’, illegal substances and sexual health. While on the Kāpiti coast, the event took place in the Summerset Retirement Village in Paraparaumu, with a focus on healthy activities appropriate for aged care. The first year students also set up stands to offer blood pressure checks in Pak ‘n Save stores in Petone, Porirua and Paraparaumu.
The Health Days are part of the students’ practical component of study. To gain a Bachelor of Nursing Degree, students must complete a minimum of 1,100 hours of clinical experience (praxis), and in year one, students learn clinical skills at off-site experiences in rest homes and the community such as the Health Promotion Days, as well as in the clinical simulation suites based on campus at Whitireia.
“The Health Promotion Days are multi-purpose - helping the community as well as providing a hands-on learning experience for the students,” says Ari Neocleous, tutor in the Whitireia School of Health and Social Services, who has been assisting the students.
“But most importantly, this project gives the students an opportunity to learn first hand about the communities where they will likely be doing their clinical placements during their nursing degree, or working as a qualified nurse in the future. Critical to the success of nursing is understanding the people you are helping, and a big part of this is understanding their circumstances and communities. For the student nurses, being out in a variety of communities early on in their study is a helpful part of their learning process.”
Molly Johnson, a first year Bachelor of Nursing student at Whitireia, who was involved in the Health Promotion Day in Petone, explains how it was both nerve wracking, but also a huge learning curve to put theory into practice with members of the public.
“One of the main learnings was being able to communicate clinical terms in a way that made sense to members of the public. It was initially nerve wracking taking the blood pressure, it was the first time we had done it outside of the simulation suites on campus at Whitireia, which is a controlled environment. We had our white nurses uniform on and it felt very real. But I quickly became reassured because it was completely fine and I felt relaxed chatting to people as I was doing it, and it made me think, wow, we have been prepared so well for this.”
For over thirty years nursing has been a major focus at Whitireia. During this time, Whitireia has developed a reputation for producing work-ready graduates who are highly regarded by industry.
Whitireia offers applicants the choice of three Bachelor of Nursing Degrees, all of which are approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand’s requirements for registration. These are the Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Māori and Bachelor of Nursing Pacific. All are three-year full-time programmes and offer a combination of theory i.e. classroom-based sessions at our Porirua campus and supported clinical experience, which is practical/hands-on work completed in a variety of community and hospital settings.
Students who successfully complete the programme are eligible to sit the Nursing Council of New Zealand State Final Examinations. When passed, the student applies to the Nursing Council for registration as a Registered Nurse.