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International Nurses' Day

Thursday, May 12, 2016


May 12 is International Nurses' Day – the perfect opportunity to celebrate and recognise the 71 nurses working in Family Planning clinics the length of New Zealand.

We spoke with two of our nurses, at opposite ends of the country, about why they became Family Planning nurses, what they love about the job, and their thoughts on International Nurses' Day.

First we talked to one of our northernmost nurses, Bronwyn Olson, who works at our Whangarei clinic.

A passion for women’s health has always been Bronwyn Olson’s motivation for becoming a nurse.

“Women are the centre of their family, and if they’re healthy and making healthy decisions, then there’ll be positive and widespread effects for her family,” says Bronwyn.

Bronwyn has been a Family Planning nurse since January 2015 – her first role as a sexual health nurse – and she is continuing to expand her scope of work; from contraception, to STI tests and IUD removals.

Her job as a Family Planning nurse at the top of the country gives her a lot of variety. Last year it saw her travel to rural areas out of Kaitaia, where she worked with high school students in very remote areas.

“It’s really rewarding helping young people understand their contraception, so they know what they’re doing and they can take control of it for themselves,” she says.

Bronwyn came to Family Planning from Dargaville Hospital, where she worked across a range of settings, such as the emergency room, in palliative care, and post-natal care, but being a sexual health nurse was always her goal.

“I think being a sexual health nurse requires a balance of empathy and humour, and that really suited my personality.”

Bronwyn says International Nurses' Day is a great occasion to celebrate the nurses of the world. “Nurses are not always recognised for the contribution they make. After all, we are the majority of clinical health services providers and we need to celebrate that.”

At the very other end of the country, we also spoke with Karen Williams, a nurse at our Invercargill clinic.

Karen joined Family Planning in December 2015, after meeting some of our staff through our smear takers course.

The course in Christchurch and assessment in Dunedin led her to meet many of our nurses and colleagues, and she decided to move to sexual health care.

“I thought to myself, ‘what a fabulous group of people, I’d really like to work at Family Planning,’” says Karen.

Being smear trained was a great advantage and just a few weeks later Karen was employed at Family Planning - mostly taking smears at our Invercargill clinic, but also acting as a smear assessor for the Invercargill area.

She says taking smears is one of her favourite jobs. “It’s really rewarding helping women, I love it.”

Now Karen is progressing along the Family Planning nurse training pathway to further develop her sexual health nursing skills.

With more than 30 years’ experience as a medical ward nurse in primary healthcare; she has taken on her role as a Family Planning nurse, on top of her current locum work. “It’s a busy wee job, but it’s a fabulous organisation to work for.”

More information

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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