Nurses Day 'hero': Gentle NP helps clients facing tough life

April 2015 Vol 15 (2)

’Tough customers’ are now turning up for appointments more and more often since primary health care NP Jane Dutton joined Whanganui’s Castlecliff Health nearly six months ago.

Jane DuttonJane Dutton is under no illusion about how tough life is for many of her patients living in Whanganui’s beachside suburb Castlecliff. It’s an area of high deprivation, with all the challenges that go with that. But right now,
Dutton says she wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else.

Dutton is one of the country’s 50 qualified nurse practitioners in primary health, a qualified midwife and a prescriber, and currently is the only nurse practitioner in the Whanganui region.

In the five months since she joined forces with practice owner Dr Praveen Thadigiri, Dutton knows the two of them have made a difference. The pair has earned the trust of patients, including some of their ‘toughest customers’ who in the past refused to attend doctor’s appointments and are now coming to the health centre on a regular basis. In addition, Castlecliff Health has now achieved a 100 per cent immunisation rate for children less than eight months old.

Dutton says a key focus for her is encouraging patients to take the lead in doing all they can to improve their health. This includes giving up smoking, drinking in moderation, eating well, exercising, taking their medications and caring for their teeth.

Former colleague, WDHB nurse manager surgical services, Declan Rogers says Dutton is the perfect person to guide and persuade people to live healthily.

“She’s very approachable, gentle, reliable and thoroughly committed to her work and those she serves,” Rogers says. “We’re very fortunate to have her working in primary health. I’m not surprised she’s having such a positive impact on her patients.”

Meanwhile, Dutton is feeling very positive about the direction in which the nursing profession is moving.

“We’re seeing excellent new nurses coming through, we have legislative changes happening to widen nurses’ scope of practice and the Nursing Council is improving the nurse practitioner application process,” she says.

“I’m very pleased to be actively supporting several nurses working in Whanganui’s primary health sector who are following the nurse practitioner pathway. It bodes well for the future that we have nurses wanting to take up
this opportunity.”

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