Wellington graduand providing care to communities in need

Nurse and midwife Anne Dymond has returned home in time to attend her Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington graduation, after spending two weeks in Samoa providing care amidst the measles epidemic.

Graduating this week with a Master of Health Care in Midwifery, Anne was the only midwife deployed to Samoa with the “Alpha” grouping of the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team (NZMAT). She supported local staff in administering vaccinations and treating those infected with measles or secondary infections.

“There is a lot of excellent work happening there at the moment; we successfully treated and rehydrated many children, but there was also a lot of sadness,” she says.

“In a space of a few hours I was involved in attempting to resuscitate a child, and then I delivered a baby.”

Her experience in Samoa was not the first time Anne has done humanitarian work since first becoming a nurse 10 years ago. The year after she also registered as a midwife she signed up to assist World Vision who were doing work in Rwanda. She lived there for three months, and when she returned home she found she wanted to do more so she signed up for the NZMAT.

Caring for others has motivated Anne for much of her life, but she didn’t begin her career as a nurse and midwife until later in life. Originally from England, she emigrated to New Zealand with her husband and five of her children more than twenty years ago. They settled in Invercargill, where she and her husband had two more children—it was then she decided she wanted to work in healthcare.

“I had always been involved with volunteering for organisations such as Women’s Refuge, so it seemed like a natural progression to step into nursing and midwifery,” she says.

“I didn’t sit my final undergraduate exams until I was nearly 50, but I think nursing and midwifery are great occupations for older people. You have a lot of life skills to help you deal with the difficult things that come up.”

A lifelong learner, Anne has already applied to start her Professional Doctorate next year.

“My Master’s supervisor, Associate Professor Robyn Maude, told me I could be doing my PhD by the time I’m 63; well I’m 61 so I guess pipped her at the post,” says Anne.

She will be looking to draw on her experience serving in places like Samoa and Rwanda for her doctoral research topic.

“I would like to look into the expectations of women about birthing experiences in places where the base hospital is not so close: Samoa, Rwanda, even Queenstown, and compare this to the support and care they actually receive,” she says.

“My lecturers have really lit a fuse under me, they are so inspirational. I feel like part of the Victoria University of Wellington family, and I see Wellington as my academic home.”