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Scarlet - Clinical Team Leader

13 December 2021
Scarlet Hero

Magandang araw everyone. My name is Scarlet Gandola and I am originally from the Philippines. Like many other international nurses, I came to New Zealand to explore and expand my knowledge and skills in my profession as a registered nurse, and I now call Aotearoa home.

I have been with the Department of Corrections for approximately six years, after working as a night co-ordinator at an aged care facility in Karanema/Havelock North, Hastings, for almost two years. Recently, I have taken on a new role as clinical team leader at the Mount Eden Corrections Facility (MECF) Health Centre. It is a demanding role, but I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities it will bring.

My decision to join Ara Poutama Aotearoa was not difficult. Even when I was still back home in the Philippines, I always knew that I wanted to become a nurse and that I would love to explore supporting people in prison. No one day is the same when working in a prison and I find the variety in my job really motivating and energising. Applying my clinical and critical nursing skills goes hand in hand with the satisfaction of being able to make a difference in the lives of people in prison.

Another highlight of my job, is the ability to share my knowledge and skills to help hone the capabilities especially of new staff. Another aspect I find extremely rewarding is offering support to our entire health team so that we as a collective can always bring our best not only to our patients, but also to the MECF Health Centre as a whole.

Nursing is not everybody’s cup of tea. The profession requires determination, dedication and resilience – even more so in a prison. Nursing at Ara Poutama Aotearoa offers unique opportunities to develop and practise one’s skills in a wide range of clinical areas. On any given day nurses working in the prison health centre provide a full range of primary healthcare services.

On a more personal note, I appreciate the fact that the department is very respectful of cultural diversity, and it does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or religion. It continues to stand by this objective without judgment, allowing staff members to showcase their abilities regardless of their background. Ara Poutama Aotearoa also encourages staff members to expand their knowledge and skills base continuously through professional development plans, and ongoing staff training and education. I am grateful for every opportunity given to me to improve my ever-expanding professional capability.

The department’s Hōkai Rangi strategy and Ara Poutama Aotearoa values further empower every employee to achieve their fullest potential. We have one goal and one vision, and that is to support the people we manage to the best of our ability.

I would like to say to my fellow nurses out there: give nursing at Ara Poutama Aotearoa a chance. It may sound daunting, but you will find that it is actually a rewarding and positive experience that will widen your nursing experience and perspective. I look forward to welcoming you as one of our whānau.

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