Health is Pam’s pri­or­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

It’s not ev­ery day you meet some­one who lights up the room like Pam Neil­son does.

The pas­sion­ate Mata­mata public health nurse has ded­i­cated her life to help­ing oth­ers and has had more than 50 years’ nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, most of which has been here in Mata­mata.

‘‘There hasn’t been a sin­gle day that I have wo­ken up and not wanted to come to work,’’ she said. ‘‘It has been re­ally good.’’ But the time has come for a new chal­lenge and Ms Neil­son fin­ished up her last day of work on Fri­day, Jan­uary 27, af­ter 33 years as the public health nurse. Her role in­volved work­ing closely with five-to18 year olds in lo­cal schools and fam­i­lies within the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We do a lot of health preven­tion and sup­port the schools and com­mu­nity. We are a con­nec­tion be­tween the hospi­tal and the com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

‘‘Our re­sources are in our knowl­edge. We en­sure we do a lot of train­ing and plan­ning so we can work with fam­i­lies to en­sure chil­dren get the ul­ti­mate health care.’’

The job which

started

off as mainly health pro­mo­tion has de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cantly over the years in many ways with the in­tro­duc­tion of tech­nol­ogy and new poli­cies. ‘‘I was the first nurse have a work cell­phone.

‘‘It was a huge brick of a thing but we were work­ing out­side of hours and needed to have one.

‘‘ This was a big turn­around and soon we all had them,’’ she said.

Ms Neil­son also played an in­stru­men­tal part in help­ing the Raun­gaiti Marae near Wa­haroa be­come smoke free.

‘‘I lob­bied the marae, it was a huge thing for me and they have still con­tin­ued to up­hold the no smok­ing rule there which has been great to see,’’ she said.

‘‘An­other high­light I have had is see­ing chil­dren learn and their re­ac­tion to the health pre­sen­ta­tions we do.’’

In all her years here she said it had been pretty smooth sail­ing with no ma­jor knock­backs or any bar­ri­ers that she couldn’t over­come, along with a con­stant flow of sup­port.

And it had been the staff she worked with that had made her job such a joy each day. ‘‘The staff here are amaz­ing. ‘‘It has been a solid team which worked re­ally well and that is the high­light of this en­vi­ron­ment,’’ she said.

With her desk packed into boxes and the last-minute things ticked off the list, it is time for Mrs Neil­son to ‘‘take a long hol­i­day’’ and en­joy her well-earned re­tire­ment.

to ever

Com­mu­nity gem: The hum­ble Pam Neil­son has al­ways done her bit to make a dif­fer­ence in the Mata­mata com­mu­nity.

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