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MIT Rises To Call For More Maori Nurses

Industry call for more Maori nurses sees MIT rise to the challenge.

Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) is stepping up its efforts to increase the number of Maori entering nursing.

MIT’s Faculty of Nursing has for many years had a programme of support in place for Maori students studying the Bachelor of Nursing, but a more focused and collaborative approach in the recruitment and retention of Maori has become a key goal for the Faculty.

The existing strategies include dedicated space for a whanau room, weekly whanau hui with students and wananga at the MIT marae.

A team of staff including a part-time Kaiawhina and Maori nurse lecturers provide pastoral care alongside clinical and academic support.

This wrap-around service recognises barriers for Maori and one of the aims is early intervention to prevent Maori students disengaging with the course when external factors become overbearing.

MIT Bachelor of Nursing Lecturer and Maori Student Support Evelyn Hikuroa says, “Maori nurses are underrepresented in the nursing workforce. Outside of the support we provide at MIT we are working more closely with the DHB to recruit and retain Maori nurses.”

“To increase the number of Maori nurses we need to invest more energy in recruitment but this isn’t a straight forward process. Not only do school leavers have more choice in career options but rangatahi Maori still lag in secondary school achievement because they leave school earlier without qualifications or do not meet the entry criteria for tertiary study,” she says.

“Increasing the Maori nursing workforce is seen primarily as a way to improve health service to Maori but it’s important to recognise that Maori approaches to care, underpinned by the principles of aroha and manaakitanga, can be beneficial to all patients.”

Counties Manukau Hospital Director of Nursing Denise Kivell says, “It is absolutely critical that we have ethnic diversity in our health care providers and it is a no brainer, particularly here in Counties Manukau where the ethnicities of our nurses do not currently align with the community demographic.”

“It is not just about telling Maori and Pacific men and women to follow a career in nursing. We have to improve workplace systems that allow the support of this demographic in the industry,” she says.

“What we are promising is if MIT can bring us nurses fit to practise, we will go the extra mile to support and link them into the industry because we need them.”

Recent graduate and registered nurse at Counties Manukau Hospital Marieann Mohi says, “In order for the industry to be empowered in providing the best care appropriate for individuals, we need to understand and respect customs and how
cultures influence the way in which people prefer to be cared for.”

“I am an example to my whanau and especially my daughter that you can turn your dreams into a reality by setting goals. I have also expressed to my whanau the importance of education and that you can be passionate about learning,” she says.

“Having systems which promote learning opportunities for Maori that are tailored to the way Maori learn better would go a long way in encouraging Maori to pursue careers in nursing.”


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