Plunket nurses see 9 out of 10 of New Zealand kids – visiting families in their homes, working with parents in clinics and helping out in local communities. From their very first visit they become part of a family’s life. They provide support, they provide reassurance and they make the difference of a lifetime for NZ kids.
Our Plunket nurses are ordinary women who do extraordinary things every day for families across New Zealand. In this Making a Difference series of nurse profiles you will meet a handful of the amazing nurses who dedicate their time to ensuring our Kiwi kids and families are supported.
Cromwell Plunket nurse Anna has been working for Plunket for 5 and a half years and loves it. We asked her what she likes about Plunket, about the difference she makes in the all-important first 1000 days, and about the Remarkable Mums group she set up to support local mums with holistic maternal health.
What inspired you to become a Plunket nurse?
I really wanted to work in the community and in a community job. I was working in a maternity unit so I thought Plunket would be a good fit. I thought it was something that I would be interested in and I was right. It is really good to be able to work in a rural community and with families.
What does a day in your life look like?
I work school hours to fit in with my own family commitments and am fully booked all day – so an average day is pretty busy for me. I am the only nurse down here so I have back to back clients usually every half hour in the clinic and a bit longer for home visits. On top of this I also do some drop-in clinics during the Remarkable Mums group if my workload permits.
Remarkable Mums group?
The group is a concept that I have been working on for a few years. I saw that there was a big gap in our community for holistic maternal health and I wanted to fill it. A group that focused on these aspects was a good way to do this and connects mothers with other mothers also.
The group meets fortnightly on Friday and is all about maternal health and holistic health. One week we may have a physio come in, another week we may have a doctor talking about post-natal depression, or a dietitian may come to talk about good food choices for a tired mum. We also have a group massage therapist who comes every 3 months which is great. A volunteer and the Community Leader are now running this group so I am very much in the background.
A couple of groups in other areas have also started up, with the same concept. It is really good to see a focus on holistic maternal health.
What do you like about working for Plunket?
I like seeing the difference that we make for families and the community. I love seeing people grow as parents, grow into their role. I like them to know that we are there – we fill a gap in our community, we provide support. Our clients know they can ring you when they have questions and it is awesome to have this connection with them. Just working with families is great.
What is the best part about working in your community?
I love seeing the way the families all interact and support each other. Also it is great just being in a rural location, I like that these areas are still safe for children. Seeing children grow up in fresh air and doing outdoor activities is awesome. Things like this are what make rural communities special.
What do you do when you are not being a Plunket nurse?
I have 3 children and last year I joined the ice-skating committee as my two youngest ice skate. I live on a lifestyle block and I love to garden. I just love to be outside.
How do you think Plunket makes a difference in the first 1000 days of a child’s life?
I think we make a huge difference. This difference is made partly by simply reassuring people that things are normal. It is about normalising newborn behaviour and increasing parents’ confidence in themselves. We give people support. We let them know they are doing a good job, let them know that the sleep that they are having at night is normal, let them know that someone is there. They can always call PlunketLine in the middle of the night with any of the questions they have.
If we connect early, provide this support and get it right then this supports outcomes in the years to come and into later life – making this difference of a lifetime.