The latest intake of new graduate nurses for Wellington’s regional mental health and addiction services reflects the changing face of the community, says the services’ leader.

Nigel Fairley, general manager of the region’s Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Service (MHAIDS) says as Wellington becomes more diverse and multicultural so are the services nurses.

Currently, 35 graduate registered nurses are undertaking MHAIDS’ New Entry to Specialist Practice (NESP) programme to support them to specialise in mental health, addictions and intellectual disability.

The graduates come from a range of cultural backgrounds – including Māori, Pasifika, Filipino, New Zealand European, Chinese, South African, and British – making it one of the most diverse groups the programme has seen, said Fairley.

“People from different backgrounds and cultures view and experience mental health issues and treatments differently and, so, have different needs,” he said.

“If we are to properly support them, we must understand that – which is why it is so important to build an ethnically diverse workforce that is conscious of people’s cultures and needs.”

“Nurses are a significant part of our workforce and are vital in the delivery of health services – both in a hospital and community setting. They often work closest with the people we support, and work hard respect and understand their cultures and beliefs.

“The more we can nurture an ethnically diverse and culturally-conscious staff – including nurses, mental health support workers, doctors, therapist and others – the better equipped we will be to continue supporting our ever-changing communities into the future.”


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