Māori nurses in the community are being offered the first recognised professional development programme for Māori nurses by Māori nursing leadership. Huarahi Whakatu is a professional development recognition programme (PDRP) developed by national Māori workforce development centre Te Rau Matatini in partnership with Te Ao Maramatanga (the New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses), with support from Nga Ngaru Hauora o Aotearoa and approved by the Nursing Council. It is specifically targeted at Māori nurses working in non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The need for more professional development that incorporates both clinical and cultural elements was cited during national consultation last year, coordinated by Maria Baker from Te Rau Matatini for the Ministry for Health.
At the same time Te Rau Matatini, which initially focused on mental health but now has a sector-wide focus, had been piloting the PDRP programme in the mental health sector and adapted it to meet the needs of a wider workforce.
The accredited PDRP has been tailored for Māori nurses working in the NGO sector and meets both Nursing Council and Māori cultural competencies. Hineroa Hakiaha and Tio Sewell, Māori caucus members of Te Ao Maramatanga, said that though the new PDRP programme was focused on NGOs it was suitable for Māori nurses working in any context.
Adrienne Kara, who stepped into the coordination role in November after working with district health board PDRPs, said the dual competency-focused Huarahi Whakatu covered the same competencies as other PDRPs but had a different approach to evidence.
Māori nurses could use te reo, tikanga and Māori models of health to show how they met competency requirements and to demonstrate which skill level they were working at, in both sets of competencies.
“It’s an exciting choice for Māori nurses who want to demonstrate the blended approach to their practice from a clinical and cultural perspective,” Kara said.
Nurses signed up to the free programme would, with employer and supervisor support, prepare a portfolio of work over 8-12 months which would then be assessed. They would also have access to nursing mentorship and hui study days.
Kara said assessment was another area where Huarahi Whakatu differed from other PDRPs, in that its assessment panels would include kuia or kaumatua and local cultural assessors along with two Māori RNs, including herself, who had met the NZQA assessor standards required by Nursing Council. Research on the pilot by Maria Baker found some nurses had difficulty with self-assessment. Many modestly decided they were working at a lower level than their peers assessed them, and many preferred that others judge their level of practice.
The research also found concern about the limited capacity of Māori nursing leadership. It said too few Māori nurses were in key strategic positions and some nursing leaders did not adequately engage with Māori.
Māori nurses and employers interested in the Huarahi Whakatu PDRP can find out more information on the website: www.matatini.co.nz or phone Adrienne Kara on 0800 MATATINI.