ON placement at Turanga Health in her last term of training, Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse Brigitt Fielder knew she was in the right place.
“We'd done all sorts of placements and while I enjoyed the theatre environment, it was Turanga Health that really inspired me,” she says.
“The moment I walked in I thought 'this feels like home' and the day after I sat my last exam, in November 2019, I started work.”
That seems quick, but Brigitt had taken a long road to get there.
A self-confessed “Jack of all trades”, between parenting her children she had worked in areas from upholstery to horticulture, to the stained glass work she still does today.
“I had often thought about going into nursing but, with three kids to raise, I couldn't really afford to be a poor student,” she says.
“But it was them that pushed me into it. My youngest was still at school when they said 'Mum, it's time, just do it!'.”
If Turanga Health feels like “home”, Brigitt sees a lot of other homes in the course of her working day.
As one of a team of three, she has hundreds of pēpi on her books, starting home visits from when baby is just five weeks old and continuing – though in reducing frequency – until the age of five.
“We look at lots of things to do with a baby's health and development and also to see if mum has everything she needs, and how we can help if she doesn't,” Brigitt says.
And working at Turanga Health means Brigitt has support for things outside her immediate brief.
“Just recently I visited a rental home where there were eight kids, and no working heating -- it was freezing! – so that was a situation the team here at Turanga Health could do something about. If a home isn't warm, or the tamariki don't have enough clothing, those are issues we can refer on for further support.”
But sometimes it is not only the babies that need the care of the Tamariki Ora team.
“Everyone has different degrees of whānau support and sometimes the māmās just need to talk, and for you to say “you're doing the right thing, you're doing great . . . you've got this”.
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