A visit to Rarotonga to help nurses there may be the start of
a long-term support relationship between the Southern
District Health Board and Cook Islands nursing.
Nursing and midwifery director Leanne Samuel (50) returned
recently from two weeks in Rarotonga updating nursing
documents that govern standards and competencies.
While she was ''Cook Islandising'' the relevant documents,
the job itself got bigger and bigger.
''The more they got used to you being there, the more the
She has continued to field emails after her return, which
might become a long-term arrangement.
''I'm hoping that that might be an ongoing source of support
She was grateful for board chief executive Carole Heatly's
support for both her visit and the possibility of continued
contact. It was also a learning opportunity for the health
Mrs Samuel was born and bred in Dunedin, and is married to a
Cook Islander. Because of previous visits for family reasons,
she knows the geography of the outer islands.
Invercargill-based, she works three days a week in Dunedin.
She admired the nurses' versatility - they had to be
generalists, which was a contrast with New Zealand, where
nursing had become specialised.
And she was impressed with nurses' sense of humour and
willingness to consider different ways of working.
Much of the equipment they used had become outdated in New
Zealand, although it still did the job, she said.
Another positive development was the imminent reopening of
the local nursing school, which has been closed for the past
few years. Some of the documents Mrs Samuel updated would be
used to support its curriculum.