Robyn Hewlett is retiring this year after her second stint as chair of the Enrolled Nurse Section of NZNO. Find out what book is gathering dust beside her bedside and what three wishes she would ask to be granted for the nursing workforce.
JOB TITLE: Chairperson of Enrolled Nurse Section NZNO and enrolled nurse at Dunedin Hospital
Q Where and when did you train?
A I trained at Dunedin Hospital School of Nursing 1991–1992.
Q Other qualifications/professional roles?
A Chairperson of the Enrolled Nurse Section NZNO; member of working group SDHB orientation programme for enrolled nurses; previous NZNO Board of Directors member; member of Ministry of Health Chief Nurse’s advisory group on an enrolled nurse fact sheet “Enrolled Nurses: Have you thought of employing an enrolled nurse” April 2013; DHB & NZNO National Delegates Committee since 2012; member of Ministry of Health Enrolled Nurse Stakeholder Group 2002; member of the Ministry of Health group developing competencies for the second level nurse 2000.
Q When and/or why did you decide to become a nurse?
A I came to nursing later in life as I was made redundant from Telecom, as a supervisor, in the 1980s. I applied for a psychiatric assistant position at Cherry Farm hospital.
While I was working at Cherry Farm Hospital, the Otago Hospital Board at the time advertised for applicants for the hospital-based enrolled nurse training programme. I applied and was very fortunate to be accepted. On finishing, there were no positions at Dunedin or Wakari Hospitals, so I returned to Cherry Farm Hospital, working as a casual enrolled nurse and was offered a temporary six-month position at Wakari Hospital within the intellectually disabled service. This eventually became a permanent position.
Q What was your nursing career up to your current job?
A I worked at Cherry Farm Hospital in 1992 post graduation as a casual enrolled nurse until they commenced transferring clients to Wakari Hospital due to Cherry Farm closing. Then I worked on a six-month contract initially at Wakari and eventually gained a permanent position in Intellectual Disability Services for three years. Then I worked in Assessment, Treatment & Rehabilitation of the Elderly from 1995–2005 until restructuring in 2004.
I transferred 2005 to the Dunedin Hospital Nursing Resource Unit, where I currently work (as well as on a surgical ward).
Q So what is your current job all about?
A I work as an enrolled nurse on the Nursing Resource Unit, doing rostered duties where we cover sickness at Dunedin Hospital. I also work in a busy surgical ward. Enrolled nurses at Dunedin Hospital work under the direction and delegation of registered nurses.
Q What do you love most about your current nursing leadership role?
A During my time as chairperson of the enrolled nurse section, five years, second time round, I am really proud that the lobbying and perseverance over the years by the enrolled nurse section, enrolled nurses, and NZNO has ensured that the enrolled nurse title, role, and scope of practice has not only been retained, but broadened for the current enrolled nurse workforce to bring it in line with the 18-month Level 5 enrolled nurse diploma. For the current enrolled nurse workforce, they have re-gained what they lost in their scope of practice years ago, but in some workplaces, they are still not able to work to the top of their scope.
Q What do you love least?
A That a lot of our new graduate registered and enrolled nurses have no positions once they graduate.
Q If there was a fairy godmother of nursing what three wishes would you ask to be granted for the New Zealand nursing workforce?
- A workforce plan for the New Zealand nursing work force.
- A fully-funded, six-month, new graduate enrolled nurse programme in the district health boards.
- Safe, regulated nursing staff levels in all health care facilities in New Zealand.
Q What do you think are the characteristics of a good leader? And are they intrinsic or can they be learnt?
A Being organised and committed to the role is very essential, as are communication skills and have a good knowledge of the enrolled nurse role and legislation relating to all aspects of nursing and health care.
Q What do you do to try and keep fit, healthy, happy and balanced?
A At the moment, I would like to be lying on a beach, doing nothing but soaking up the sun. I always have good intentions to keep fit and do walking, or aqua jogging, but … I enjoy movies, live theatre, shows, and concerts. Best live show: The Lion King.
Q Which book is gathering dust on your bedside table waiting for you to get round to reading it?
A The Luminaries
Q What have you been reading instead?
A The One Plus One by Jo Jo Moyes. I really enjoyed two of her previous books, Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind.
Q What is number one on your ‘bucket list’ of things to do?
A To do my OE to Europe and UK at some stage, as I never went when I was younger.
Q If I wasn’t a nurse I’d be...
A Rich and retired!!!
Q What is your favourite meal?
A Buying fresh vegetables and fish at the Otago Farmers Market and any meal that someone else has cooked. I’m not fussy.