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Revealing findings in Primary Healthcare research

Revealing findings in Primary Healthcare Pasifika nurse leadership research

With bated breath, Pauline Fuimaono Sanders-Telfer (Nurse Leader for Alliance Health Plus) waited for her hugely important thesis result to come out. She had passed. Pauline has received her Master’s degree in Professional Practice (Leadership) for her research contributing to the growth and development of Pasifika nurse leaders in New Zealand.

“I wanted to look into the reasons why we have so few Pasifika nurses in leadership roles, with a focus in Primary Healthcare” Pauline says. Pasifika nurses have been identified as a key enabler to positively contribute to Pacific health outcomes particularly when disparities for Pacific communities are highest. However, there are very few formal nurse leadership roles in Primary Healthcare and variable but minimal informal nurse leadership development. This is also impacted on the number of Pasifika nurses which represent less than 3% of the nursing community in NZ.

It wasn’t easy for the Papatoetoe mum of three, who is of Samoan-NZ European heritage. “The past eighteen months was quite intense with studying and working full time, keeping the family happy and looking after my husband who has serious health issues. My successful completion is a reflection of the amazing support of my family and friends”.

Using the Talanoa interview method to conduct her research, Pauline’s key findings from the participant responses highlighted that the priorities in their life significantly impacted leadership participation. There were also fundamental differences in understanding how leaders were selected when comparing the Western and Pasifika view coupled with variable organisational support and a lack of confidence in leadership skills and experience.

Pauline’s research journey also brought to light the lack of literature available that discusses Pasifika leadership in nursing. “My research was challenging due to minimal literature in my area of focus. This highlighted the need for more Pacific leadership research in nursing and health in general”.

Pauline goes on to say “As Pasifika people, we can improve the health of our community. We need to be part of the decision making conversations otherwise, someone who thinks they know our community will do it for us. As Pasifika women who are healthcare workers, we need to use our expertise and opportunities to provide quality care, at all levels of the health system, for our community. My journey has started, come and join me”. Pauline endeavours to use her research to continue supporting the development of Pasifika nurse leadership in NZ.

The research by Pauline was enabled through the collaboration of Alliance Health Plus, the Aniva Pacific Nurse Leadership Programme , Whitireia NZ and the Ministry of Health.


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