Turanga Health nurse Riaana Higgins is passionate about hapori whānau nursing and is studying to become a prescribing nurse in the community.
After a year working in Oranga Hinengaro Māori Mental Health in Manawatu, the 28-year-old has returned home to te Tairāwhiti and has been at Turanga Health for nearly a year.
“I always wanted to work in the community,” says Riaana, Ngati Porou, Ngai te Rangi. “I missed my family, and I decided early on that if there was an opportunity to come home then I would try and work for Turanga Health.”
Riaana was a community nurse with Oranga Hinengaro in Palmerston North. She was part of a team providing assessment, treatment, and care to tangata whaiora of all ages and their whānau. It was a for Māori, by Māori service.
“I like being out and about in the community because you see a different perspective of someone. When they come to the clinic you just see them for a short time in one place but when you go into their home you can see their social situation as well.”
Now working with Turanga Health’s community nursing team, Riaana is studying part-time to become a prescribing nurse in the community. The postgraduate diploma was created so nurses with prescribing qualifications could safely improve access to healthcare for people with long-term or common health conditions. Riaana is doing the study through EIT and looks forward to qualifying in 2025.
Riaana lives with her beloved grandmother Mate Wanoa. “Nan is in Turanga Health’s Kaumātua Programme and always said nice things about Turanga Health.” It was just one more reason for Riaana to return home and do the mahi she loves.
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