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Global honours for nursing students

Monday, October 31, 2016


From left: Third-year nursing students and Undergraduate Award winners Rosana Hare and Talitha Classens.

Global honours for nursing students

Two School of Nursing students head to Ireland next week, as honoured winners in the annual international Undergraduate Awards.

Talitha Claassens, from New Plymouth, and Rosana Hare, from Feilding, have been cited as the ultimate champions of high-potential undergraduates at the awards referred to as “junior Nobel Prizes”, which recognise excellent research and original work in sciences, humanities, business or creative arts.

Ms Claassens, a third-year student, was named regional winner, for her paper Nursing a patient with acute pain: Case study: Forty-year-old woman post-mastectomy. Her work is the highest performing paper in the Oceania region in the Nursing and Midwifery category.

Ms Hare was highly commended in the Nursing and Midwifery category for her paper, Acute Mental Health: applying knowledge, skills and attitude to mental health practice.

They will meet their fellow awardees at the annual Undergraduate Awards Global Summit, which is being held in Dublin from November 8-11. Speakers at the summit include NASA astronaut Dr Mae Jemison, Shiza Shahid of the Malala Fund and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abrahams.

Ms Claassens describes news of her win as surreal. “I feel incredibly blessed and thankful to have been given this opportunity. A lot of it is due to the wonderful support provided by Massey. It’s still sinking in.”

The 32-year-old, who is originally from South Africa, analysed acute pain in a post-mastectomy patient. “I discussed how acute pain has several influential aspects, which could contribute to the sensation and experience of pain. It’s important to understand pain is a subjective and individual experience.

“If you only treat the physical aspect of pain, it may result in pain being under-treated, and therefore develop into chronic pain. Post-mastectomy patients often experience emotional distress, anxiety, depression and body image concerns. By addressing the psychological influences of pain, in combination with the pharmacological measures, patients are able to receive holistic individualised treatment, which can ultimately assist their overall recovery,” Ms Claassens said.

Ms Hare, 29, said she was stunned by her win. “I was just happy with that news, but when we were told Massey was willing to fund the trip to Dublin, I was blown away. It’s so exciting and I am very thankful for the opportunity.”

Her paper explored applying knowledge skills and attitudes in mental health practice.

“People experiencing mental distress, or crisis, can be exposed to a power imbalance and loss of autonomy when accessing mental health services. This is as a result of the heavy influence of legislation within these services, which generates tension between managing patient-centered care while maintaining public safety. I argue that by applying certain knowledge, skills and attitude, nurses can transform the focus and delivery of acute mental health services, therefore enhancing therapeutic engagement and promoting recovery,” Ms Hare said.

Head of the School of Nursing Professor Annette Huntington said the University is proud of Ms Claassens’ success at the awards. “It is wonderful recognition of her achievement at an international level and shows her exceptional commitment to her study and to the provision of patient-centred care for the people she cares for in the clinical setting.

“The School of Nursing believes the success of both students who were entered into these international awards reflects both the high quality students we attract into the programme and the level of excellence expected by staff and achieved by the students,” Professor Huntington said.

Undergraduate Awards chief executive Louise Hodgson said, “This is a huge achievement for Massey University and its students. UA received the highest number of submissions to date with only the best papers making it through the judging process - the competition was extremely tough and the judges were astounded at the high quality of undergraduate research in the programme this year.”

The Undergraduate Awards received a record 5514 entries this year from undergraduates in 244 institutions. The Global Winner is the highest-performing paper within its category and the Regional Winners are the highest performing Highly Commended papers from their region within a category.

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