Q&A Dr Daryle Deering

1 September 2013

Daryle Deering's career was sealed with an afternoon tea at Sunnyside Hospital with the doyenne of mental health nursing Dame Margaret Bazley. Find out more about the College of Mental Health Nurses president.

JOB TITLE: Senior lecturer, National Addiction Centre, University of Otago, Christchurch & President, New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses Te Ao Māramatanga

 Q Where and when did you train?

A Sunnyside Hospital (psychiatric nursing) and Christchurch Hospital (general and obstetric training), 1975.

Q Other qualifications/professional roles?

A BA in nursing and psychology from Massey University.

I did some postgraduate papers in health care management from Massey University before deciding operational health management was not for me and transferring to the University of Otago to complete a Master’s in Health Sciences in 1997. Then I completed my PhD, which looked at methadone treatment in New Zealand. There was little comprehensive research information on the nature of this long-term treatment for clients in New Zealand or client outcomes and perceptions of treatment.

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

A I was curious about mental health and the impact of mental health issues and associated stigma on peoples’ lives. I saw an advertisement for prospective nursing trainees to have afternoon tea with the then matron of Sunnyside Hospital, Margaret Bazley (now Dame Margaret Bazley and patron of Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses). Talking with her was inspiring, and I subsequently commenced nursing training.

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

A I have spent over 35 years working principally in the area of community mental health and addiction. I have worked in paediatrics, a private psychiatric unit, adult mental health, community addiction services, family mental health, and youth mental health. I have been a staff nurse, clinical manager, regional manager, clinical tutor, clinical supervisor, and from 2000-2007, I was director of mental health nursing practice for the Canterbury District Health Board. I have been involved in community service developments, advanced nursing practice developments, service evaluations, policy development, and clinical research projects.

Q When have you felt particularly proud to be a nurse?

A When I see nurses contribute to making a difference to the lives of individuals and their families and whānau – for example, adolescents who have complex health issues returning to education and knowing that they have life options; people affected by addiction reclaiming their lives; people becoming aware about how they can improve their health and wellbeing; and people with mental health issues taking control and living fulfilling lives within their community.

Q What was your most embarrassing moment as a nurse?

A I am sure there were many – but I do remember receiving a leaving “present” that included a diary, key ring with a whistle etc. which brought attention to my habit of leaving a trail of “things behind me” and people knowing who they were likely to belong to.

Q What is your current job all about?

A I work at the National Addiction Centre, University of Otago, Christchurch. The centre’s mission is to contribute to improving prevention and treatment in the area of substance use and addiction (and co-existing issues). It incorporates teaching, research, and promoting translation of research findings into practice – including addressing stigma. I also have a role in nursing practice developments with a national group of advanced practice mental health and addiction nurses and through Te Ao Māramatanga, New Zealand College of Mental Health Nursing.

Q What do you love about your current job?

A To combine clinical and academic work in a great interdisciplinary team and more broadly with nurses and other colleagues. The opportunities to contribute to influencing attitudes and practice, to develop national and international connections and networks, to work in partnership with consumers on projects and, in a university role, to advocate for change and support consumers to have a voice.

Q What are the bits you love least?

A Being a citizen and a nurse in a society in which inequality is an increasing feature with associated negative health consequences for many families, particularly children.

Q Have you ever wanted to give up nursing and why?

A No – while there have been many systems-related challenges, I have had amazing opportunities through nursing and worked with and got to know so many innovative nurses.

Q Would you recommend your child/niece/neighbour/grandchild to go into nursing?

A Definitely if they were interested in people and health and health behaviour change.

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

A Enjoy the day, and like many people I know, put good intentions into practice and try to be mindful of health and positive psychology principles.

Q Which book is gathering dust on your bedside table waiting for you to get around to reading it?

A Ratana: The Prophet by Keith Newman

Q What have you been reading instead?

A Several other books – e.g. a Michael Connelly crime novel, Life after life by Kate Atkinson, and The Conductor, by Sarah Quigley

Q What are three of your favourite movies of all time?

A Three of so many that come to mind are Annie Hall, Pulp Fiction, and Boy.

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

A I don’t have such a list, but I have yet to walk Milford Track and will be going with my partner to visit my daughter in Berlin in September.