Collaborative nursing efforts the focus of International Nurses Day celebration

From left: Wanganui Hospital registered nurse (RN) Tina Sigvertson, WRPHO RN Rihi Karena and Wanganui Hospital enrolled nurse Denise Marshall.
Wanganui Hospital’s senior nursing staff will be out visiting every ward in the hospital on Saturday to meet with nurses and acknowledge the invaluable, round-the-clock work they do for the hospital and patients.
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) director of nursing Sandy Blake says the fact that 56 percent of WDHB staff are nurses puts their contribution into perspective. Importantly, Saturday will also be a time to reflect on how WDHB nurses and primary sector nursing staff are working collaboratively to deliver excellent patient care at all levels.
A good example of this is the Mental Health Liaison (MHL) project between the Whanganui District Health Board and the Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation (WRPHO).
Mental Health Liaison works in partnership with general practitioners (GPs) to help support people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems. The majority of referrals for MHL come directly from GP practices associated with the WRPHO.
“The aim is to provide early treatment in a primary care setting which helps reduce the need for secondary care service intervention,” Mrs Blake says. “The Mental Health Liaison works from four GP surgeries in Wicksteed House, Gonville Health, Aramoho Health Centre, and City Health.”
Another example of how the WRPHO and Wanganui Hospital work in partnership is registered nurse Rihi Karena who is employed by the WRPHO as the long-term conditions specialist nurse with the Manaaki Hauora-Wellness Support team.
Working alongside Wanganui Hospital Medical Ward staff Ms Karena advocates for and supports Maori patients and their whanau across hospital and community-based services to help ensure an effective transition between secondary and primary services, Mrs Blake says.
“This is a pilot project designed to provide an integrated service and collaborative working relationship between the two organisations. It is already proving very beneficial for staff, patients and their whanau. Feedback from all involved has been extremely positive.”
And Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority (TOIHA) registered nurse Julie Jackson is another example of a nurse working collaboratively across the health sector. Her new role as immunisation coordinator sees her working with the immunisation steering group (a group of health professionals from many health organisations) which meets every second month at Wanganui Hospital to review statistics, distribute new information and continually review methods to improve the Whanganui district’s immunisation uptake.
Mrs Blake says Ms Jackson’s role involves recalling patients for immunisation, working with outreach services such as the WRPHO, the Ngati Ruanui Tahua Trust and nurses in the paediatric ward at Wanganui Hospital to ensure all patients are offered the opportunity to be immunised.
While this can be challenging Ms Jackson finds it very rewarding to see immunisation rates rise as required by the Ministry of Health. She says it’s vital that health care teams work collaboratively to improve the uptake and they’re doing this well.