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Nursing & Health Studies celebrates 25 years

Media Release

September 15

Waikato Institute of Technology Department of Nursing & Health Studies celebrates 25 years

The Minister of Health, Hon. Annette King, will be in Hamilton on Friday September 19 for a civic reception to celebrate the silver jubilee of nursing training by Waikato Institute of Technology.

In 1978 nurse training moved away from the hospital training style and into the polytechnic system. That year the then Waikato Technical Institute and its Department of Science welcomed 35 students into the first Diploma in Nursing programme. Soon after this the Department of Nursing & Health Studies was formally created. It is recognised nationally and further afield as a leading provider of nursing training.

In 2003, 185 nursing students began their studies with 25 midwifery students joining that programme.

As the only provider of undergraduate health care education in the Waikato the department has worked hard to provide courses that would prepare health care professionals to provide the best quality of care to the region and beyond.

Key to the development of health care provision is the development of research knowledge and the department is developing a strong track record in conducting clinically focused research.

To recognise the special relationship between the Tangata Whenua and the Department and add a unique dimension to the programmes offered, the Tihei Mauri Ora Option in Foundation, Nursing and Midwifery programmes was developed in 1993.

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The 1980s and ‘90s saw the successful delivery of a variety of programmes designed to meet the needs of a changing health care environment which included meeting the needs of Maori, children and older people along with the Diploma in Midwifery and courses in Natural and Complementary Therapies.

Degrees in Nursing and Midwifery were introduced in the mid ‘90s and Postgraduate programmes in Nursing, Child Health and Maori Health in 2000 leading to a Masters awards and preparation as Nurse Practitioners.

Department Head, Judi Honeyfield said the face of health care has changed significantly over the past 25 years.

“Gone are the hats and starched uniforms. Today‘s nursing and midwifery students are as likely to have a laptop computer and mobile telephone as a fob watch,”

She said interest in Nursing and Midwifery courses remains strong with more applicants than places and that Wintec programmes attract a range of people from school leavers to those embarking on second and often third careers.

Programmes currently offered in the Department of Nursing & Health Studies cater to the learning needs of close to 1000 students and it is estimated that over 4,300 students have gained a formal health care award during the twenty five years – making an enormous contribution to the health of the region.

As part of the jubilee celebration a past student web site was launched and over 45 past students have registered their current details. Contacts have come from the United States, Australia and Europe as well as throughout New Zealand, including Wintec graduate Geoff Daniels, current Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Nurses Association.

Ms. Honeyfield said the Department has a proud record of achievements
with students regularly achieving 100% pass rates in the national Nursing Council registration exam. This year Wintec midwifery student Michelle Keen gained the highest pass rate in the country.

The department began its celebrations earlier this year by releasing more than 180 silver helium balloons - one for every health studies qualifying student this year, above garden place.

Ten top nursing scholars will be presented with awards on the night.


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