Years ago while working as a caregiver for the elderly Shannon Maats-Niwa decided she wanted to be a nurse and offer exemplary care.
“I wanted to be the kind of nurse that a person deserved to have,” she says.
And now she is!
Shannon has been a nurse for seven years and is loving her new role at Turanga Health as a tamariki ora nurse supporting new māmā and their pēpi.
She started with the iwi health provider just before New Zealand went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so for the first few weeks in her job she provided virtual care to whānau over the phone.
It was vastly different to her previous nursing jobs including stints on various wards at Gisborne Hospital and four years on the frontline at the Rhythm and Vines music festival.
“I wanted a job in primary care to help shape me and I have discovered I love being on this side of caring for people.”
“It’s humbling” visiting whānau in their own home. She says some of the strong wahine she supports live with very little in the way of life’s luxuries and it makes her appreciate her own family and extended Dutch and Māori whānau.
With an insatiable thirst for learning Shannon, 34, has her sights set on expanding her nursing career. Since graduating she has already added a post-graduate certificate and post-graduate diploma in nursing. Becoming a nurse practitioner, one of the country’s most qualified nurses, is her long term goal.
“I like to keep on learning. I get stale if I stay in the same thing for too long” says Shannon, who along with husband Adam is bringing up their four children.
There’s a chance her curiosity and motivation comes from her unique and stimulating childhood. Shannon and her two siblings grew up in a house truck for nearly five years traveling around much of New Zealand. They had a childhood surrounded by a range of unique and worldly people with the added bonus of being home schooled to a high standard.
“It was an adventure,” remembers Shannon, who finished her education at Lytton High School.
Turanga Health welcomes Shannon Maats-Niwa.
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