Irene Williams is the new Clinical Nurse Manager at Te Puia Springs Hospital. The first clinical Nurse Manager in 10 years. Irene has whakapapa to Te Whanau a Apanui but has grown up in and around the Ngati Porou rohe and calls it home. They say timing is everything, after working in Gisborne for a large portion of her career, Irene knew it was time to come home. We got to visit her after 8 weeks to see how she’s settling in.
Did you grow up around here?
Yes! I was born right here at this hospital (Te Puia Springs). I was raised on the farm at Ruatahunga Station and then Bremner Station. I attended Mata School. We had a total of 5-6 kids in attendance at Mata School! (chuckles). Following that my parents sent me to boarding school at Queen Victoria College in Auckland. Wow what a culture shock that was!
What sparked your interest in Nursing?
When I finished highschool I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I came home to Bremner Station and was my dads Shepherd. Then my mum said “You cant be a shepherd! That’s not what girls do!” So she got ahold of Sister Kiwene who was the Matron at Te Puia Springs hospital at the time. She talked to me about nursing and got me into enrolled nurses training in Waipukurau. Once I completed that I came back to Gisborne to work as an enrolled nurse.
Then I met my hubby, he’s from Toko and stopped nursing for a little while to start my family.
My specialty is in ED The Emergency Department. Although, I have experience in Orthopaedic, Medical, Surgical and Community nursing. I’ve done stints around NZ and in Australia.
What does a clinical nurse manager do?
I look after the hospital side of things. Anything clinical. So managing the hospital wing and the services we provide to the patients. This includes overseeing 16 staff at the moment including our nurses and health care assistants. We are looking to grow our team in the near future.
What has kept you in the job so long?
The thing I enjoy about nursing is it’s continual learning. It’s new learning everyday. Always learning and experiencing things. Being able to share what I’ve learnt through all my years nursing has allowed me to support my patients better. If I’ve seen it before I can tell them what to expect.
What made you move home to the coast?
I think, for a while I’d been wanting to come back home and work. But another year went by in town and then another as they do and I was still in Gisborne. So, when I received the phone call from Kuini Puketapu and Lissette Hayes I just knew this was it, it was time and I was ready for it. I’d also like to acknowledge them for their support so far in the role aswell as the rest of the staff here at the hospital from the co-ordinator to the kitchen and cleaning staff, everybody is so cool. We’re all one team and we’re all close. It’s a really positive environment to work in.
What makes working on the East Coast so special?
Because it’s my home. It gives more meaning to my work. Whatever we are doing I know it’s worthwhile for our people. For me it’s not just about helping people it’s really important to me that we support our people to help themselves.
As the role goes on I’d love to do more. I’ve got some ideas that I look forward to rolling out with our whanau so they know what health care services are available out there. Because a lot of our people live with health issues they don’t realise they can get help for these days. We’re pretty much on our own up here on the coast. We have to help ourselves - which isn’t always a bad thing because we can do things how we want to.
It’s been 10 years since the last clinical nurse manager was here so there’s a lot to do but once everything is in place it’ll all just tick along nicely. There is so much potential, we just have to keep plodding along together!