New Masters Programme attracts diverse student cohort in first year

The inaugural cohort in the Master of Nursing Practice is bringing a wealth of diversity and experience to a profession that remains in huge demand.

Photo of nursing students
The inaugural cohort of Master of Nursing Practice students at Victoria University of Wellington's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Practice

Students with a truly diverse set of backgrounds were welcomed to one of the newest programmes in the Wellington Faculty of Health – Te Wāhanga Tātai Hauora last month.

Te Kura Tāpuhi Hauora | The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Practice hosted an online Mihi Whakatau/Welcome on February 19 for its inaugural cohort of Master of Nursing Practice students. The two-year graduate entry programme allows students to transition from other educational backgrounds or careers into a career in nursing.

Students have come from all over New Zealand and the world, with a wealth of lived and academic experience in areas as wide-ranging as journalism, paramedicine, neuroscience, psychology, biotechnology, health sciences, nutrition, sports coaching, and engineering. Each student received an inaugural scholarship to commemorate the occasion.

In her address, Acting Dean Associate Professor Kathy Holloway said that in her other national nursing leadership roles including being the Deputy Chair of Nursing Council of New Zealand, she saw how urgently more nurses were needed.

‘’We need nurses to join the workforce from all parts of society and the system, and graduate programmes like this one offer a different pathway into nursing that is very valuable.’’

Associate Professor Holloway reiterated what a special and privileged profession it was the students were joining.

‘’The World Health Organisation identified 2020 as the year of the nurse and the midwife and extended that into this year. They have subsequently declared 2021 will also be the year of health and care workers. Never before in our history have we so needed health care workers that can think critically, practice in partnership and take their place in the health system in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally.’’

Head of School Dr Kim van Wissen welcomed the students and acknowledged the hard work of the team in bringing this important programme to life.

Programme Director Janet Collier-Taniela says the programme was developed to help meet the need for nurses both now and in the medium to long term, as existing schools in the region were not producing enough graduates to meet demand.

Co-designed with the Capital & Coast District Health Board and local health providers, the programme reflects the diverse needs of Aotearoa’s health population and will grow graduates grounded in commitments to nursing scholarship, care, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

‘’We are extremely proud of The Tuakana-Teina nurse mentorship programme which provides an additional layer of clinical mentorship by current and past post-graduate nurses of the School. It is the first time Tuakana-Teina mentorship has been offered within this type of programme,’’ Ms Collier-Taniela says.

The distinctive identity and underpinning philosophy of the programme is the Pou Manawa braid, which reflects belonging and connection to kaupapa, whenua, and Te Herenga Waka. Designed by Tane Morris and inspired by stakeholders including the chief nurse at the Ministry of Health, the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Maori, and the School, the braid incorporates Poutama, the stairway of knowledge, and Niho taniwha, the teeth of the taniwha, symbolising strength and unity. Pou Manawa design (pictured below) will be worn on the student uniforms.

Braid design