Q&A with Dr Kathy Holloway

1 November 2013

Find out what three wishes Kathy Holloway would ask the fairy godmother of nursing to grant and why she would like more hours in the day.

JOB TITLE: National chair of Nurse Education in the Tertiary Sector (NETS) and Dean of Faculty, Whitireia New Zealand.

Q Where and when did you train?

A Wellington Polytechnic – graduated 1980.

Q Other qualifications/professional roles?

A BN (Distinction)(UTS), MHSc(Distinction) (CSU), Postgrad Cert in Online Education (USQ), Doctor of Nursing (UTS) and Fellow of the College of Nurses Aotearoa.

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

A I was interested in studying in the health area as I was fascinated by science, especially biology, after finishing college. Becoming a nurse through the polytechnic system appealed because it was new and exciting (and I got to come to the big city).

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

A Soon after graduation, I traveled overseas where I worked extensively in both Australasia and the United Kingdom. I did further study in the clinical specialties of cardiothoracic nursing and intensive care nursing, working as a clinical nurse specialist and always enjoyed teaching others. I started formally in nursing education around 1992 in Australia and then returned to New Zealand to teach at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey). I have been teaching at Whitireia since 1996.

Q So what is your current job all about?

A My current job involves leadership in nursing education, research, industry and stakeholder engagement, management of the faculty, and the occasional bit of teaching. I work with academics in many fields and nursing leadership groups concerned about workforce development for the communities of New Zealand. We all serve the students who come to study with us through our commitment to high quality and innovative education practice.

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

A The excellent thing about my job is that no two days are the same – I get to serve different communities every week and hopefully make a helpful contribution to health workforce development and academic scholarship.

Q What do you love least?

A That there never seem to be enough hours in the day to finish all the conversations.

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


  • That nurses were confident that they would be able to make the contribution to health outcomes that they are prepared for.
  • That New Zealand had an evidenced-based model for nursing workforce planning that supported new graduates into employment.
  • That technology was transparent and universally accessible in the practice of all nurses.

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

A For me, good leadership is about a sense of service and a focus on the contribution one can and must make rather than the recognition one can gain. These build on intrinsic perspectives and can be developed further.

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

A Keeping connected with my family and maintaining friendships is important. I love to cook and share food with friends along with tasting fine wines. I regularly walk, although I should exercise more; I’ve just taken up Bollywood dancing. Balance is challenging particularly in this technology-enabled world.

Q What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday?

A Bike riding with my husband, then coffee at a local café followed by reading a good book and cooking a lovely dinner to share with my two boys.

Q While waiting in the supermarket checkout queue, which magazine are you most likely to pick up to browse and why? Gossip? Cooking? Sport? Fashion? Politics?

A Cooking definitely – are there sport magazines there?

Q What is your favourite meal?

A Degustation dinner at my favourite restaurant – fine dining and matched wines.