26 September 2022

“You get to know people” – Supporting people’s healthcare journeys as a nurse at Rolleston Prison

After a career change from software engineering, Roy started his nursing career at Ara Poutama Aotearoa three and a half years ago and hasn’t looked back.

He describes working as a nurse at Ara Poutama Aotearoa as a mix between working as a GP's nurse, where people filter through the clinic throughout the day, and emergency response. An important difference, however, is the fact that the clinic is nurse-led, which Roy says provides a lot of autonomy and opportunity to grow.

“In our practice [at Rolleston], the nurses are in charge… so there’s really good freedom to be self-directed. You get to really broaden your practice and do a little bit of everything.”

Another aspect Roy appreciates is the opportunity to genuinely get to know patients and consistently be there to support their healthcare. He says that for some guys, he might see them everyday that he’s on shift.

“That could be most days over the course of three years. You get to know them, even if it's just a couple of minutes a day that you're catching up.

Then one day you might notice - something doesn't look right about him today. And it turns out that their mental health is deteriorating and because you know them well enough, you can pick up the little signs.”

For Roy, it’s opportunities like these to make a difference that make the job so rewarding. When asked what his biggest achievements in his career are, Roy says that for him, “it’s the small moments every day where somebody’s life has just been made incrementally better.”

“For example, I might have had a chance to chat with a guy about his diabetes, and last week is diabetes management was terrible and this week it’s just merely adequate. And so, his long-term health is more likely to be good.

This is the sort of nursing where you’re dealing with people who often haven’t had a lot of support in their lives, and we provide a chance to offer that support for the first time.

It’s the kind of nursing where you can really make a difference.”

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