Media Release Date: 14 March 2008
Nurses Open Day A Huge Success
When Waikato Hospital clinical nurse manager Dinny Oakley put the call out for nurses interested in returning to the workforce she had no idea the response would be so good.
More than 100 people turned up for two open day sessions today (Friday) at Waikato Hospital most saying they were inspired to come and find out more about a return to nursing when they saw articles featuring 63-year-old Hamilton grandmother Lorraine Stringer.
"When I saw that I thought 'if she can do it, I can do it'," one woman said during the question and answer session.
Mrs Stringer is among a new breed of older nurses rapidly becoming important as Health Waikato grapples with nursing shortages. She is now a casual nurse working hours that suit her lifestyle.
Ms Oakley said she was "absolutely overwhelmed with the response". Those who attended ranged from young mothers looking to ease their way back into nursing to those who had left nursing years ago and keen to come back.
"It has been far more than I ever imagined. "We've had some wonderful people, some positive feedback; it was well worth doing.
"I would like to think that at least half will want to return," she said.
"We will keep in touch with them; give them support to come back to the programme."
There is a nationwide shortage of nurses. Last year Waikato DHB and Wintec joined forces to promote nursing as a career. Nurses, midwives and occupational therapists are in demand throughout the country.
Nurses' wages start from $41,000 per year.
"It's been a wonderful day today," said Mrs Stringer.
"I came back seven months ago. I've always loved nursing I think I'm addicted to it actually."
Modern day nursing presented few problems for her.
"I get shown something once, and then I have a go and get on with it.
"We've all got life skills. I've looked after my family with different problems. These are skills you develop and then I can share these with my nursing training skills."
Mrs Stringer said nurses no longer lifted heavy things. "We're taught to lift properly. We're given education and hoists. Lifting is almost non existent."
Flexible hours and a demand for nurses' skills meant the open day was likely to be a success.
"We will be enticing quite a few people back especially with the winter months coming up, with all those coughs and ailments. We'll need them."
Mrs Stringer is also trying to encourage a couple of her old friends back into nursing too.