Med­i­cal route to a ful­fill­ing ca­reer

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Uputaua Su­ni­ula never com­pleted high school and had two chil­dren by the time she was 17.

Yet she is now work­ing to­wards a post- grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate of nurs­ing and aim­ing to gain a masters qual­i­fi­ca­tion spe­cial­is­ing in pri­mary health care.

She said be­com­ing a nurse has been a life-chang­ing de­ci­sion for her.

Su­ni­ula bat­tles not only to help pa­tients, but also to pre­vent health prob­lems from de­vel­op­ing in the first place.

‘‘One of the prob­lems we face is that teenagers and chil­dren don’t come in to see a doc­tor till they’re re­ally sick,’’ she said.

‘‘What could’ve been ad­dressed in the clinic, in­stead be­comes com­plex, at which point they be­come an in­pa­tient in the hos­pi­tal.’’

Su­ni­ula has worked on the front­line of health­care at Wai­tan­girua and Porirua’s Com­mu­nity Health Ser­vice, two of the most chal­leng­ing ar­eas within the Cap­i­tal & Coast Dis­trict Health Board re­gion.

She said she has found the ex­pe­ri­ence em­pow­er­ing.

‘‘The pos­i­tive im­pact I can make within the com­mu­nity has been mind-blow­ing, es­pe­cially work­ing as the first point of con­tact for peo­ple in need.

‘‘ My fo­cus is to work with Porirua’s young pop­u­la­tion to help de­velop pre­ven­tion strate­gies. Th­ese can stop acute pre­sen­ta­tions of pre­ventable things like asthma and skin in­fec­tions, and re­duce the strain on hos­pi­tal ser­vices.’’

One cam­paign she works closely on is the rheumatic fever pre­ven­tion pro­gramme in Porirua.

As Su­ni­ula ex­plained, a sore throat is an early in­di­ca­tor of the dis­ease, which can cause a life­time of heart is­sues.

‘‘ It’s all about treat­ing the pa­tient early.’’

Su­ni­ula was re­cently recog­nised with the Mar­garet Faulkner grad­u­ate award for her com­mit­ment to com­pas­sion­ate care and best prac­tice prin­ci­ples.

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