Extraordinary year for International Year of the Nurse and Midwife


12 May 2020


Choosing nursing as a career provides you with skills which are transferrable to every domain in life, says WDHB’s director of nursing Lucy Adams.


A cross-section of nurses from the WDHB and community share why they work in nursing

2020 is International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how nurses and health colleagues have united to protect communities. 


Nurses make up the largest health workforce in New Zealand, with more than 56,000 nurses in the country.


“For me personally, nursing has provided the ability to gain work experience abroad and across the sector, as I have worked with the Police, Ambulance, the private sector and within DHBs,” says Ms Adams.


“With each opportunity comes new skills, knowledge and life experience which not only grows you as a person but creates life memories. It only seems like yesterday – during the 1980s - that I embarked upon a nursing career and today I am the proud seat holder of the Director of Nursing for Whanganui DHB. To all the nurses within the region I thank you for all your hard work and efforts.”


Ms Adams says a recently released artwork by UK artist Banksy of a child playing with a nursing doll in place of superheroes sums up the different stories based on an individual’s experience with nurses.  


“For me this print represents resilience, strength and ability. The timing of this art work was impeccable,” says Ms Adams.






To celebrate the year, nurses from Whanganui District Health Board and Whanganui Regional Health Network and the wider community share why they love the job.



Lesley Baylis – nurse educator, UCOL

I love working at UCOL as a nurse educator because I get a real thrill when I see the students get the ‘ah ha’ moment in class where they make the connection with what is being discussed and they have understood.


Lucy Adams – director of nursing, WDHB

In my role I am in a privileged position to work with other directors of nursing and the chief nurse officer with the aim of shaping and supporting our nursing workforce, including education, professional development, leadership, recruitment and retention…the list goes on.


Angelique Tucker, Kayla Tyson-Tahana, Linda Snelling-Berg -  midwives, WDHB

We love being midwives because we can support women and their whānau to have the best possible experience no matter where their journey takes them.


Terina Lind - registered nurse, Department of Corrections

Why do I like prison nursing? Being a prison nurse can be challenging at times but is very rewarding. Every day is different as we treat a wide range of chronic and acute health issues. In the five years I have worked as a prison nurse I have found Corrections to be supportive through helping me continue to study and further my career.


Akesh Pillai - clinical nurse coordinator, WDHB

I like looking after people. You go through the journey with them and then get to see them come out the other end and get to see them recover. It gives me a lot of happiness.


Sue Buchanan - occupational health nurse, ANZCO Foods Rangitikei

I love the fact that we are here at the ‘coalface’ making health, safety and wellbeing accessible to those who may normally not have the time or resources to get the help, care, or information they need.


Emma Devonshire - Plunket nurse, Rangitikei District   

I enjoy being a Plunket nurse because I get to work with tamariki and whānau to support them through their journey. It is rewarding to support and advocate to ensure they have access to health services. Rangitikei whānau have been so welcoming and receptive and I look forward to continuing to work with them.


Donna Marshall - public health/sexual health nurse, WDHB

Kia ora, I am Donna Marshall and I work as a public health/sexual health nurse based in the Waimarino. I enjoy working rurally and my role here brings me plenty of variety. I work with early childhood centres, primary schools, Ruapehu College and also provide personal health clinics.

I love the way our community works together to achieve outcomes and I enjoy working in collaboration with other health providers here. I am also very well supported by our local Māori health providers which helps me to promote health and wellbeing to our people and reduce inequalities in our community.

I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place with the Whanganui River and Mount Ruapehu on our doorstep for all our outdoor activities. We have great lifestyle here.


Brooke Taurua-Halberg - registered nurse, Te Waipuna, Te Oranganui

I like working in primary care because I get to walk alongside our patients in their journey to achieving health and wellbeing.


Antony Coelho – clinical nurse coordinator, Te Awhina, WDHB

"It’s not how much we do, it is how much love we put into the doing."
  - Mother Teresa.

It's tough to nail down a single reason why I wanted to be a nurse. Since my childhood I always wanted to make a difference in people's lives. But I didn’t know how and then the idea of being nurse was put into my mind by my dad and sister. I thought nursing was only for females, but then I thought ‘why not me, when I have an opportunity?’.

I like nursing because it's a profession that never stops giving. You learn new things, face new challenges every single day and, moreover, the opportunities are unlimited. It's so rewarding to make a difference in someone's life. Being a nurse was the best decision that I have ever made.  

I am a mental health nurse working in Te Awhina with a very committed and enthusiastic team who always tries to bring out the best in me. I truly feel privileged to practise nursing in New Zealand and be part of Te Awhina.  


Sandy Taylor - long term conditions clinical navigator, Whanganui Regional Health Network


I am passionate about Whānau Ora and uplifting the health and wellbeing of whānau in our community.


Rachel Work - aged care nurse, Masonic Court

I enjoy working at Masonic Court Rest Home because of the variety, the people and the environment. The elderly deserve the best care as they have worked hard during their lives and deserve respect and dignity.


Loren Mooney - public health nurse practitioner, WDHB

I love being a nurse practitioner as I am able to provide a wide range of healthcare services to a diverse range of populations in our community.