Q&A with Dr Deborah Rowe

1 July 2013

Find out what Nursing Council chair, neonatal ICU nurse, nursing school lecturer and nurse consultant Dr Deborah Rowe squeezes into her spare time. And what she dreams of doing in Ireland someday.

Job Title | Senior staff nurse neonatal intensive care and nurse consultant for Auckland District Health board and lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Nursing. Also chair of the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Q Where did you train?

A Auckland University of Technology

Q Other qualifications/professional roles?

A I have recently graduated with a PhD in Nursing. Since gaining registration, I have completed a Master of Health Science, a Master of Management, a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management, and a Bachelor of Health Science.

I’m currently chair of the Nursing Council of New Zealand. I also chair the National Screening Unit’s Māori Advisory Committee and am deputy chair of the Ethics Committee for Assisted Reproduction.

Q When and/or why did you decide to become a nurse?

A When I was a kid, I remember visiting someone in Princess Mary Hospital and was really inspired by the nurses and thought I’d really like to do a job like that.

Q What was your nursing career up to your current job?

A Since starting my career, I’ve been a staff nurse, charge nurse, clinical lecturer, research fellow, and an academic researcher. Since graduation, I have worked at Auckland City hospital, apart from a couple of periods nursing in Brazil in the rubbish dumps, and in Cambodia delivering nursing care to villages along the Mekong River.

Q So what is your current job all about?

A My current role requires me to have both a clinical and academic remit.

My clinical role as a nurse consultant for Auckland City Hospital involves developing and implementing best practice systems and policies as well as a range of research projects.

My role as a lecturer at the School of Nursing at The University of Auckland entails teaching and supervising students within a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Q What do you love most about your current nursing leadership role?

A Working with amazing and stimulating people in various situations with the aim of making a real and meaningful difference.

Q What do you love least?

A With all my ideas, if only there was time …

Q If there was a fairy godmother of nursing, what three wishes would you ask to be granted for the New Zealand nursing workforce?

A The first wish is to ensure that there is equal access to healthcare and that

New Zealand continues to have quality healthcare services that are responsive to the health needs of its citizens.

The second wish would be to have nurse prescribing in New Zealand. Research shows that nurses being able to prescribe provides significant benefits to vulnerable people that are in need of or unable to access healthcare.

The third wish is for the development of a strategic roadmap that requires district health boards to coordinate a more efficient and effective care delivery system across disciplines within the acute/primary/secondary care settings.

Q What do you think are the characteristics of a good leader? And are they intrinsic or can they be learnt?

A I think a good leader guides a team, not rules a team. A good leader charts a course, gives direction, and instils confidence and enthusiasm. They also demonstrate credibility and integrity on a consistent basis.

Some people seem to have innate leadership characteristics but there is no concrete evidence that shows leaders are born that way; I think anyone can become a leader.

Q What do you do to try and keep fit, healthy, happy and balanced?

A I try to maintain balance within my life. I like any outdoor activities but my favourites are surfing, hockey and soccer.

Q Helping keep me sane, busy, or on task outside of work are?

A I have 12 iramutu (nephews and nieces) who keep me busy when I’m not working and also a great whaea (mum) who keeps me on track.

Q What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday?

A Take Daisy my dog for a walk and then head for the coffee shop!

Q What is number one on your ‘bucket list’ of things to do?

A Go surfing in Ireland.

Q What is your favourite meal?

A You can’t beat a hot Indian vindaloo curry!