Nurses Day 'hero': home-grown but US-accented Coaster

April 2015 Vol 15 (2)

US-born Kiwi-trained nurse Brittany Jenkins is a West Coast hero for developing a resuscitation service for health practitioners stretching from Karamea to Haast.

Brittany JenkinsNurse specialist Brittany Jenkins expanded an existing resuscitation education programme into a DHB-wide Resuscitation Service to meet the isolated West Coast’s unique needs.

Jenkins began her nursing career at the West Coast District Health Board in 2007 after graduating from Massey University’s Bachelor of Nursing programme.

Originally from Montana, she describes herself as a “home-grown but American-accented” nurse and says she was drawn to the Coast by its small-town lifestyle and generalist career opportunities.

She eventually settled into working between critical care and general medicine and in 2009 was nominated to train as a New Zealand Resuscitation Council CORE instructor. She taught CORE for three years before successfully applying for the Resuscitation Service leader role at the end of 2013.

“I love the challenge and variety of the role. I enjoy teaching and the content – you can make it fun, but the role also involves everything from data collection and basic research to policy writing and working on local
and national initiatives.

“The role is also fairly unusual because it covers secondary and primary care, and is part of a trans-alpine collaboration with tertiary provider Canterbury DHB.”

She says the wide scope spans the care continuum from pre-hospital to specialist services, and has seen her facilitate partnerships with a range of professional groups, including rural nurse specialists and generalists from Karamea to Haast, Canterbury-based specialists from anaesthetics and paediatrics, and practitioners within the South Island Regional Training Hub (SIRTH).

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