Journals from NURS 298 PA Health Care in New Zealand
2010-01-18 Rotorua Hospital
It has been interesting touring around and learning about New Zealands (NZ) health care system. As a senior nursing student I have the opportunity to reflect on the differences I notice between nursing in Oregon, more specifically the Portland Metro Area, and nursing here in NZ.
Today we had the opportunity to meet with a group of Senior Nurses at Rotorua Hospital. A group of all female nurses from different specialty backgrounds (emergency, pediatrics, education, etc.) met with us for a question and answer period after a brief organizational overview. One of the topics discussed was nursing education. I learned that the Nursing Council of New Zealand requires a state exam similar to the US nursing licensure exam. Unlike the US where licensure is taken at test sites, in New Zealand the exam is taken at the university.
Currently, Rotorua Hospital offers a new grad program that graduates can apply to participate in. It is a paid 12-month program where they are completely protected. They have the opportunity to learn the ropes of the hospital and work alongside a senior nurse in their area of interest, i.e. the emergency department or childrens ward. This position consists of a 36-hour work week with bonus education days. I found it interesting that only after completion of 6 months of the new grad program, the new nurse is counted on the roster. It is astounding that upon completion of this program, a position on the ward is not guaranteed; this is determined based on whether a position is available. The duty manager did clarify that if the hospital could not offer the new nurse a position that they help place them in a job at one of the community clinics. It is an amazing opportunity and I wish we had more programs like this available in Oregon. Many of the new grad programs in our area have been cut due to budget.
After the discussion, I had the opportunity to tour the Emergency Department (ED). I was amazed to learn that all persons admitted to the hospital have to be seen in the ED first, even if their doctor scheduled their admittance. It was explained that the doctor would meet their patients in the ED to perform all triage paperwork and assessments before transferring them to the ward. This surprises me because I am accustomed to the belief that the emergency department is for acutely ill people requiring immediate medical attention. As for all other patients, the ED nurses and doctors triage them and determine whether or not they will be admitted. A large number of the people who present to the ED are not admitted to a ward. This is because many people utilizing New Zealands public health care system have co-pays for visiting their primary health care physician and therefore utilize the hospitals free service via the emergency department for routine care.
Experiencing multiple health perspectives was eye opening. I have learned a lot about New Zealands health care system and will be able to integrate it into my nursing career. Having the opportunity to converse with a wide variety of health professionals was an amazing experience. I would have liked to spend a greater length of time in the emergency department to gain a better understanding of the dynamics. Hopefully one day we too will be able to offer health care services at a reduced rate or free of charge to all in need.
Linfield College, Portland Campus