Families receptive to visits
The cultural mix of Te Puke has been a revelation for Taylor Thomson.
Registered nurse Taylor recently began working with Te Puke Plunket and is training to be a Plunket nurse.
“Te Puke is interesting — it is a hugely diverse community which is something that’s new to me, but is really cool,” she says.
She says the diversity is reflected in different styles of parenting.
“At the end of the day, everyone wants the best for their children, but it’s really interesting to see the different ways people achieve that.”
While Plunket is as Kiwi as the silver fern, that doesn’t stop those from overseas appreciating the service and she has already visited a number of Indian families.
“They are really receptive to having us there,” says Taylor.
“The biggest barrier is the language barrier and often the husband is there to translate, or we have access to a translation service on the phone.
“They always bring us into their homes and offer us endless amounts of tea and coffee. They are really happy for you to be there and check their baby and make sure everything’s going well.”
Pacific Island families are also “really receptive” to the information nurses provide.
Taylor says there was less of a cultural mix in Morrinsville where she was previously attached to Plunket, before going on maternity leave.
She started working for Plunket after qualifying in nursing at Waiariki Institute of Technology then working in the women’s ward at Tauranga Hospital.
“I always felt like a really maternal person, even before I had my own child, and I always loved working with babies and families. That’s why I enjoyed working at the hospital — I enjoyed working with the whole family, not just one person.”
Taylor has one day of clinics a week in the Te Puke Plunket rooms, and the rest of the time is on the road, covering an area that stretches as far as tamara¯kau.
“We basically go in and make sure children are growing, happy and healthy and well. We try and identify issues early on so we weigh and measure babies and then refer them on to services if they need support.”
Te Puke Plunket now has a Family Start service operating out of Te Puke’s Plunket rooms.
Family Start is a free home visiting service that offers early support for families who are expecting a new baby or who are already caring for a new baby.
It is for families experiencing personal or family situations that make parenting challenging.
Family workers are mobile and families can be referred to the service through a variety of agencies or through self referral.
Registered social worker Sally Baker says Family Start offers a broad holistic approach.
“We also have access to other service providers who can help,” she says.
Registered nurse Taylor Thomson is part-way towards qualifying as a Plunket nurse Te Puke Plunket.