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Whitireia Offers Nursing Diploma As Government Covers Student Costs

It will come as no surprise to hear that New Zealand has a shortage of nurses, with a particular need for nurses of Māori and Pacific descent.

In efforts to bolster these numbers, Whitireia is the only institution in the Wellington region to offer a New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing - and good news has come that the Government is providing funding for this diploma, which now falls into the ‘free trades training’ category.

Enrolled Nursing is an accessible way to become a nurse for those with NCEA Level 2, and is an 18 month programme which includes six months of hands-on clinical work.

Enrolled Nursing tutor at Whitireia, Denny McLeod explains: “The course is much more attainable for those that for personal time constraints or financial reasons, can’t commit to a full degree.

“The first year of the diploma includes four days of class work per week and one day in the laboratory where the students work through simulated scenarios in a controlled environment. This type of study suits many people who would otherwise not be able to access a career in the health sector” says Denny.

As well as ‘no cost study’, qualified Enrolled Nurses will be assisted into employment via a partnership between Whitireia and the Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) through the Enrolled Nurse Supported into Practice Programme (ENSIPP).

Kathy Trezise, Nurse Educator at the CCDHB who partners closely with Whitireia tutors to assist graduate Enrolled Nurses into work, says: “For many years work options for Enrolled Nurses were limited, recent changes mean these graduates now have a much wider array of choices, which is really exciting. ENs can work in most areas of healthcare, including paediatrics, surgery, outpatients, and mental health and intellectual disabilities services.

Luana Carins-Coelho Lazano, a student at Whitireia explains: “I am already working in the healthcare industry as a carer, which is great but has its limitations. I really want to gain more skills and knowledge and get back into the workforce so the 18 month course really appealed to me.”

“The role of an enrolled nurse is to work under the direction and delegation of a registered nurse while providing care for their own independent workload. What the ENSIPP programme does is provide clinical and professional support through clinical supervision and study days to consolidate skills and enhance their first year of practice,” says Kathy.

Christina Funaki, another 2021 student in the programme at Whitireia, recently relocated to Wellington from Melbourne felt the 18 month timeframe was very achievable. “I also really liked the idea of studying at Whitireia because I know that they are very supportive of Māori and Pacific culture, and I feel that they will help bring out the best in me.”

“The culmination of all the right things - free study, support by industry while new in employment, and an accessible programme of study - has come just at the right time with a huge need for well qualified and supported nurses in New Zealand,” says Carmel Haggerty, head of Whitireia and WelTec School of Health and Social Services.

Carmel herself commenced her career as an Enrolled Nurse and has never looked back.

“Having the combination of free trades training and ENSIPP could open the door for students who may have otherwise felt that further study was out of their reach, due to the course fees and the need to pay it back once they enter the workforce.”

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