1 March 2012

BRIEFS INCLUDING:Nga Manukura pilot to commence/ Workplace computer access/ Avoid food list released/ Cancer programme for Maori

Ngā Manukura pilot to commence

A pilot project to meet a demand for more Māori registered nurses trained as workplace assessors will be underway shortly in two regions.

The Poutama project is part of the Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō (national Māori nursing and midwifery workforce development project). The workplace training project arose from a survey of district health board directors of nursing which saw the need for more Māori nurses to be trained to supervise, mentor, and assess undergraduate students and to carry out peer competence reviews. The two pilot sites for the programme are Lakes and Northland DHBs with RNs currently enrolling for an April start date.

The programme’s components will include preceptorship, workplace assessor training, how to apply to become a Nursing Council competence assessor, career planning, and an introduction to mentorship. Meanwhile Ngā Manukura’s clinical leadership training programmes are continuing to be offered, with 53 Maori nurses and midwives graduating across the country to date, leading to a number of projects that acknowledge tikanga Maori in clinical practice.

The next training programme will be underway in mid-March, and a fifth cohort is due to start in August at Turangawaewae Marae. A further pilot project in developing e-portfolios to support Māori registered nurses is also in its early stages.

More information about the Ngā Manukura projects can be found at

Cancer programme for Māori

A new cancer education and support programme for Māori was launched recently.

Kia Ora – E te iwi was developed by the Cancer Society in league with four Māori health providers to create a kappa Māori programme to be delivered for Māori by Māori. The programme is intended for people who have coped with cancer as a patient, support person, or health professional and aims to increase knowledge of cancer and its treatments and to encourage discussions about concerns and coping mechanisms. The Cancer Society is training facilitators for the programme and providers with trained facilitators will be eligible to apply to the Cancer Society for funding to run the programme in 2012.

Workplace computer access

Lack of time and access to computers in the workplace remain the major barriers to nurses using the internet to support their practice, a survey has found.

The survey was carried out as part of the evaluation of a South Island nursing website aimed at increasing nursing access to useful information online. The evaluation report shows that despite quake-caused delays, the use of the Nursing Evidence website has risen rapidly since its launch in December 2010, from just a few hundred visitors a month to 1700 in August 2011.

More than 90 nurses completed an evaluation survey in that month to follow-up an initial survey of 57 nurses carried out during the development of the site. The follow-up survey found improved confidence in using the internet but respondents said lack of time and access to computers in the workplace remained barriers. They also said a lack of easy access to a funded database, such as Cinahl, was a problem. The lack of access to funded databases was a particular issue for non-District Health Board nurses, but DHB nurses reported they only had access when at work.

Project nurse Karen Betony said the project was now looking at ways to increase nurses’ access to a database both at work and at home through the project’s website, with ongoing funding now being provided by the Canterbury District Health board for the initially Ministry of Health-funded project.

She also said supporting nurses’ ability to use the internet quickly and efficiently had been a key focus of the project, with a tips and tricks tutorial being developed, which was one of the most popular sections of the site.

The New Zealand Institute of Community Health Care would continue to manage the project, which is also looking to follow the North Island sister project in making standardised DHB policies and procedures available online.

Avoid food list released 

A list of foods for obese people to avoid or limit to occasional treats drew wide interest when published in the New Zealand Medical Journal recently.

The list of 49 non-essential, energy-dense, nutritionally-deficient (NEEDNT) foods was drawn up by Jane Elmslie and Ria Schroder, who are both research fellows at the University of Otago National Addiction Centre in Christchurch.

Elmslie, a nutritionist and the lead researcher, said the list of common food aimed to help guide the public and health professionals to differentiate nutritionally-deficient foods from those that are merely high calorie. The list names generic foods and suggests healthier replacements – or to avoid them if no healthy option.

The “avoid” list includes muesli bars, which the researchers say are high in calories, fat, and sugar and have minimal nutritional value. Also on the avoid list is honey and chocolate. The replace list includes replacing cream with natural yoghurt and replacing fruit juice with fresh fruit and water.

Schroder said the list was unlikely to be a weight reduction strategy on its own but would guide people whether what they were eating was “nutritious and necessary” or just “random recreational grazing”.

Health workers take to the dunes

Staff at Northland’s Kauri Coast Care Home joined eight other Bupa sites in signing up to the pilot B-Fit programme that kicked off last winter.

The employee-run programme follows a four-step process, including risk assessment, making a plan to improve health, looking at options to reduce risk factors and plotting progress. Exercise activities taken up by the sites include pilates, sand dune and beachside jogs, and a three week ‘boo-tey camp’. The project also includes some teams (and in some cases, residents) growing vegetables on site as they encourage healthy eating. One B-fit participant has reported lowering their blood pressure and while another reported enjoying their first jogging in 20 years. The scheme is to be rolled out to more care homes this year.