Ergonomics an obvious change
Experienced nurse on new path
There’s a new ergonomist in town.
Anita Beyer has filled the role formerly held by recently retired Prof Terry Cunniffe and is forging a new career with her business Impact Ergonomics.
Anita is originally from Whanganui, where she attended St Johns Hill Primary School, Rutherford Intermediate and Whanganui High School.
“I left to go to Palmerston North UCOL for my nursing training,” she says. After graduating she worked as a practice nurse in Whanganui, Palmerston North and Levin, later moving to Auckland to train and work as a perioperative nurse with Southern Cross Hospitals.
“I worked in theatre as a scrub nurse and specialised in orthopaedics, so that has been a huge help because I understand how people are put together and how they move. I’ve seen the effects of not using your body and having a sedentary life: we were doing hip replacements on these people who didn’t have physically demanding jobs or lives. That sparked my interest. I started noticing the ageing of the work force in nursing; a lot of the nurses I worked with in theatre — 50 plus — were amazing with their expertise and a huge range of skills, but working in theatre was taking its toll on their bodies. There have been links throughout my career that have led me in this [ergonomics] direction.”
Anita has known Terry and his wife Pat for some time, so when Terry looked to retire last year they saw an opportunity for Anita to return to Whanganui (from Christchurch) and take over.
Rebranding it as Impact Ergonomics and with Terry as her mentor, Anita has covered a lot of ground in a short time.
“I started working with the DHB and local businesses and I’m already doing assessments. I managed to fit a lot in. The more I learn about ergonomics the more I find it is a great fit for me.”
Anita is finishing her Masters Degree in Nursing this year with a clinical project in ergonomics.
“New Zealand has an ageing population and workforce and it is projected that by 2031 20 per cent of the population will be 65 or over. By 2036 this group will make up 13 per cent of the workforce. Recently, the Retirement Commission, after consulting 500 employers, found that 83 per cent had no strategy to handle it.”
Anita says she has started with ergonomic assessments of work stations in work places.
“The next thing I want to roll out is home safety audits to keep people in their own homes, safe and independent as long as possible. Empowerment has always been a huge part of my work ethos.”
Over the years, Anita has taken leave on several occasions to care for and help rehabilitate elderly loved ones.
“That’s been hugely rewarding to see them being able to carry on with the life they want to live.”
Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems to make them compatible with the need, abilities and limitations of people.
Anita can carry out ergonomic evaluations, seating assessments and workstation adjustments, and can also provide, with Terry, home safety assessments.
■ Anita Beyer of Impact Ergonomics can be contacted on 021 704 258.
Anita Beyer is using her nursing skills and more in her new ergonomics career.