Eight nurses from the Far North to Stewart Island have been elected to the Rural Nurses NZ working party including four nurse practitioners.
Nominations were called for in April for a working party to up the profile of rural nurses after the idea was first mooted at the National Rural Health Conference in March.
Nineteen nurses put themselves forward for the election and the successful candidates were recently announced (see list below). The election, which was combined with a survey to gather some demographic data on the rural nursing workforce and the challenges it faced, had 136 participants.
Rhonda Johnson, one of the group instigators and now an elected member, said the group was likely to hold its first meeting next week by video conference.
On the agenda for the first meeting would be electing officials including a chair, discussing the survey results and deciding first priorities for the group.
Johnson said one issue raised at the conference in March was the lack of accurate data on the number of rural nurses actually working in the secondary and primary health sector. So she said one thing she may raise at the first meeting is approaching rural hospitals, like the one she works for, to gather nursing numbers and to look at how best to capture data for primary health nurses working in rural or remote settings.
Rural Nurses NZ Working Party Members
Primary health representatives
- Kate Stark, NP (in general practice), Gore
- Rachel Pretorius, NP (in general practice), Martinborough
- Cathy Beazley, NP (primary health) Hokianga
Secondary health representatives
- Debi Lawry, Nurse Director, Clyde
- Rhonda Johnson, RN, Clyde
Māori health representative
- Rhoena Davis, NP (whānau ora), Whangaroa
- Emma Dillon, RN, Stewart Island
- Virginia Maskill, Rural Nursing Lecturer, University of Otago, Christchurch
Rural Nurses NZ Facebook page