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NMIT Celebrates 40 Years of Nursing Education

14 May 2014

NMIT Celebrates 40 Years of Nursing Education

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) celebrates 40 years of nursing education this year.

Back in 1974 when NMIT (then Nelson Polytechnic) had its first intake of 30 trainee nurses under a pilot programme, it was one of the first technical institutes in New Zealand (after Wellington and Christchurch) to begin offering nursing education outside of the hospital-based school system. The transfer of nursing from hospital training to tertiary education was a significant reform, led by nurses, and in response to a rapidly changing society. A display in the NMIT library starting on 12 May (International Nurses Day) celebrates 40 years of nursing education at NMIT and recognises some of the many nurse visionaries who influenced the development of nursing.

NMIT Nursing Tutor Rosemary Gage was amongst the first intake of students in 1974.

“I became part of this brave new world and it was a privilege to be part of it. Our school, then led by Pam Seymour, not only helped change the gender and course composition of the Polytechnic, it brought us student status and presented a curriculum which changed how and what we were taught. It was transforming and definitely pivotal in providing the platform for the contemporary education nurses receive today,” she said.

Nursing Programme Area Leader Chris Dunn also graduated from Nelson Polytechnic back in 1983 and says while she doesn’t consider herself old, so much in nursing education has changed since her student days.

“We were on campus from 8am until 5pm and wore zip-front blue denim dresses as uniforms. If you wanted to research something, you had to go to the library and look it up in books using the index card system. We did have dolls and mannequins but they were primitive – just stuffed, fabric dolls! We also had a plastic skeleton which hung on a stand – those were the extent of our models!”

Chris returned to tutor at NMIT in 2012 after a 30 year nursing career spanning New Zealand, Australia, England and Canada. She says the main change she sees with nursing education today is that it is much more student-focussed, interactive and applied.

“Now it’s all about the students. It’s much more personal and we are partners with them. There are also a lot more blended delivery options with more self-directed and online study,” she says.

Today, about 200 students study nursing programmes from certificate to degree level at NMIT each year. Facilities at the institute include high-tech mannequins which can be programmed to simulate a wide range of health conditions, a clinical practice space with six hospital beds, two biology laboratories, a microbiology laboratory and teaching spaces and classrooms.

Student pass rates and employment outcomes for NMIT nursing graduates are excellent. According to the New Graduate Destinations Survey conducted by the Nursing Education in the Tertiary Sector (Aotearoa NZ) in March 2014, NMIT’s nursing graduates had the highest employment rate across all of New Zealand with 89 percent of 56 graduates from 2013 known to be in nursing employment.



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