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It was no small achievement – Christchurch’s Ryman Healthcare is New Zealand’s largest retirement village operator and employs 620 nurses at 36 villages in NZ and in Australia.
Anthony Wilding Retirement Village has been a big part of life for the Halswell registered nurse.
She first started at the village as a 17-year-old school student, working in the laundry and then the kitchen teams when it first opened in 2007.
Scaife first trained as a paramedic in Wellington after leaving school, filling in her time with shifts as a caregiver at Rita Angus Retirement Village while she was studying.
It was while working as an ambulance officer that she attended an emergency and realised that her destiny lay in working as an aged-care nurse.
“We went on a callout to look after an older woman who was in trouble. It was when I was caring for her that I realised that looking after older people was what I really wanted to do,” said Scaife.
“I think my workmates were surprised, but that’s what I wanted to do.’’
She returned to Christchurch to begin a three-year nursing course at CPIT and later came back to where it all started at Anthony Wilding to work as a registered nurse on the afternoon team.
No one was more delighted with her win than her mother and sister, who were on hand for her awards night celebration along with daughters Phoebe, 5, and Hazel, 3.
“It’s an amazing place and team to work with," said Scaife.
“You never hear them complain no matter what is going on. They just get on and put in the effort to care for everyone and to do their best for them.’’
She was also grateful for Jeannie Sales, Anthony Wilding’s clinical manager, and Sharon Armstrong, village manager, for their backing over the years.
Said Scaife: “Jeannie has been a great mentor. She’s always there and makes time for those long conversations you need about the lessons you’re learning and the problems that come up.
“She told me early on to listen carefully and to ask the right questions to guide conversations, particularly with families.
“It’s been great advice and something I try to pass on.
“Sharon’s always efficient and supportive, no matter what the problem is.’’
Scaife was brought up in Leeston and a lot of residents are retired farmers from the district.
“I’ve grown up knowing them and their families so there’s a real community feel to what we do,” she said.
“Talking to them, seeing that they are happy and knowing their quirks is all part of the job.’’