Derryn Hurinui was inspired to pursue a career in nursing while working as an administrator at a medical centre. Now she's loving her job as an Enrolled Nurse at Whanganui Hospital's eye clinic.
"When I was working at the medical centre, I'd see all of the nurses go past and I'd think to myself, 'I want to do that. I want to do more. I want to interact with the clients.' Becoming a nurse was a way I could be a role model for my tamariki and whanau, and show them what they can achieve," says Derryn.
Originally from Rātana Pā, Derryn chose to study at UCOL | Te Pūkenga Whanganui after seeing her mum graduate from there many moons ago.
"I've known so many people who have gone through UCOL | Te Pūkenga. My mum is a business graduate, and I knew that UCOL provided great opportunities."
Derryn enrolled in the UCOL | Te Pūkenga New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing after originally starting the Bachelor of Nursing, switching to better fit in her family commitments. As a solo mother, doing the year-and-a-half diploma was more manageable for her family than the three year degree.
The programme's clinical placements were highlights for Derryn. The Diploma has a strong mental health component which involved Derryn completing a placement at a specialist mental health rehabilitation unit. The wide range of placements also saw Derryn gain experience in areas such as aged care, a surgical day unit, and special care for people with disabilities.
"I really enjoyed the placements because they gave me a taste of nursing work. From my first placement I was hooked and hungry for more. I enjoyed every single one, which made it a little hard to decide where I wanted to go after my studies."
Derryn's graduation was extra special for her, as she graduated alongside her brother.
"It was really nice graduating with my little brother, who studied security. My tamariki were there, with my nana and mum."
Derryn had a job interview with the Whanganui District Health Board before her state final exams, and as soon as her results came back she was offered a job in their nursing resource unit. The unit places nurses in areas where they will develop new skills.
As an Enrolled Nurse, Derryn works under the direction and delegation of a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner. Enrolled Nurses complete a variety of tasks to support the nursing team like helping clients to complete daily living activities, checking vital signs, wound dressings, nursing assessments, and administering medications with the supervision of a Registered Nurse.
After working around the different wards of Whanganui Hospital, Derryn found her home in the Ophthalmology (eye) department. Her responsibilities include checking patients' visual sharpness, checking the pressure of their eyes, doing eye scans, and getting patients ready for consultations with their ophthalmologist.
"I'm really enjoying it. We've got a great team and I love interacting with the clients. We have a lot of regular clients so you get to know them well."
Derryn says her UCOL | Te Pūkenga education gave her the confidence and the skills to be an excellent nurse; it's not just the technical skills that she learnt, but also the people skills.
"UCOL taught me about the importance of body language and always putting on a smile, even if you're tired or not having the best day. You just get it together."
Going forward in her career, Derryn says, "I just want to be the best nurse I can be."