Date: July 2, 2008
'First Ever' Position Appointed At Waikato DHB
Tokoroa nurse educator Julie Daltrey is about to embark on a first ever position for the Waikato District Health Board.
Mrs Daltrey has accepted Waikato DHB's first clinical nurse specialist gerontology position - a facilitation and advocacy role for high standards of elderly care.
A shift in the nuclear family structure, increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and a projected ageing population have been the main drivers of the new role.
"While Waikato currently has fabulous services and staff working hands-on with its elderly residents, an ageing population means there will be more people reaching this age group in the coming years," said Waikato DHB Rural and Community Services group manager.
"Coupled with the increased likelihood of these people suffering chronic conditions, we required a position to look after their needs from a 'whole' view."
And who better than Mrs Daltrey, who has been working in the rural community of Tokoroa for the past nine years, accumulating a broad view of community health issues.
"Elderly people present in many specialties of the health sector every day, not just the expected aged care or rehabilitation specialties," said Mrs Daltrey.
"In my current role as a nurse educator I see the elderly on a daily basis, whether it is in rest homes, hospital or living at home and accessing community services such as district nurses.
"Having a rural background means I have a very broad view of the health issues facing the community and the elderly and I think this will be imperative in this new position.
"The variety offered in the job was what encouraged me to apply in the first place."
However, Mrs Daltrey is quick to point out that she will not enter her new job with any preconceived ideas about what is best for this service user group.
Shortly following her start date on July 21, she says the first thing she will do is get to know the needs of the people and the service she is working with.
"I see my role as very much that of a facilitator, where listening and talking to people and working closely with existing services will be essential," she said.
Waikato DHB's new clinical nurse specialist gerontology will cover the entire DHB region - from the top of the Coromandel down to the Ruapehu district.
"The aim is to keep the elderly well and in their homes, rather than in hospitals," said Mrs Daltrey, who recently completed her clinical master of nursing and post graduate diploma in nursing - primary care (rural).
"This is just one of the many steps being taken by Waikato DHB to counteract the increasing pressures faced by the health system during the next 10-20 years at least," said Mrs Dibble.
Mrs Daltrey started her health career in her hometown of Dorset, England, as an ambulance driver, then as a rest home carer.
At the age of 27, she needed more professional development and challenge so undertook her nursing studies.
The graduate went straight into district nursing and was the first person in Somerset Trust (a region of the United Kingdom's National Health System) to enter district nursing straight from training.
Mrs Daltrey moved to Tokoroa from England nine years ago with her husband Allen.
NB: An up-to-date studio portrait of Julie Daltrey is available upon request.
About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato: Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 353,460 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $915 million and employs more than 5300 people.
Health Waikato is the DHB's main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of $530 million and 4500 staff. It has seven divisions across five hospital sites, two maternity and continuing care hospitals and 21 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.
Other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories - are delivered by a wide range of independent providers.