Er­gonomics an ob­vi­ous change

Ex­pe­ri­enced nurse on new path

Whanganui Midweek - - News - By PAUL BROOKS

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.

PIC­TURE / PAUL BROOKS

Anita Beyer is us­ing her nurs­ing skills and more in her new er­gonomics ca­reer.

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