Postgraduate student profile

Rachel Shaw - Master of Nursing

Rachel Shaw

Master of Nursing

How are you finding studying at Massey?

I have enjoyed being a student again. It has challenged me in many ways. Massey is set up really well with the Stream online site and library services.

Initially I found post grad study very challenging. The last time I studied formally was in 2001 when I completed my Bachelor of Nursing. I had to learn a lot of new computer skills that were necessary for assignments, and research around the assignments. My first assignment for my Master of Nursing was in the Family Practice paper.  Academic writing was like learning a foreign language and APA referencing was incredibly challenging.  It definitely took a while to get into study. Probably time management was the most demanding for me. Working full time and having 3 children was challenging already, and with study added to the mix it took a lot of organising and lots of lists. Fortunately with the help of family, a very supportive work place and clear expectations and support from Massey, I am nearly there.

What is the best part about studying at Massey?

I have really enjoyed the block courses. I have met a lot of postgraduate nurses and formed friendships and networks.  An added bonus was that I reconnected with a friend from my Diploma of Nursing study days. It was great to reconnect over the pharmacology paper.

Why did you decide to study the programME?                                                                                    I

I was ready for something new. I had been living and working in Emergency nursing in California from 2002 to 2011. It was fast paced and busy. The hours were long and although I loved the work, it was time for a new challenge, and I wanted a new role in Nursing.  I had identified right from the beginning that I wanted to take a Nurse Practitioner pathway. I wanted to continue working in the clinical setting and this seemed a perfect logical next step.

Will you find it easy to get a job after completing your degree?      

As part of the Nurse Practitioner training programme that I am on this year, I have a job for next year as a Nurse Practitioner at YOSS (Youth One Stop Shop) where I am currently employed as a registered nurse.

What job opportunities are there for Nurse PRACTITIONERS? 

I think the job opportunities in New Zealand are going to increase as we meet the challenges facing our health system. International evidence shows that Nurse Practitioners do really well in terms of health care delivery. They are able to provide patient centred care by combining nursing proficiency with some skills from medicine.   

Who are you currently employed by and what is your role?

I am a Nurse Practitioner intern with YOSS (Youth One Stop Shop) in Palmerston North. YOSS is a non-governmental organisation that provides free youth and health services to young people aged 10-24 years old. We have a health team which consists of a doctor and nurses. Much of what we do is nurse-led clinics.  Our   youth team consists of social workers, a youth worker, peer support worker, counsellor and clinical psychologist.

What do you do daily in your job?

We see approximately 900 clients per month. For most, we are their first contact with a health professional. My key clinical roles and responsibilities include provision of accessible, affordable, high quality youth appropriate health care. I achieve this through advanced assessment and diagnosis, interventions and treatment, formulation of plans of care and follow up, screening and immunisation, education, health promotion and disease prevention, ordering and interpretation of diagnostic tests, referrals to other appropriate services and health care providers as well as  prescribing treatments and medications.

As a population group,  young people are going through many physical, psychological, social, cognitive and emotional changes as they transition through adolescence from childhood to adulthood. These changes make youth particularly vulnerable and at risk to harm. Common clinical encounters in this population include sexual and reproductive health, women’s health, mental health, social health, skin and general medical conditions.

How has Massey’s programme set you up for the job you are in currently?

I was fortunate enough to get a place on the Nurse Practitioner training programme.  Whilst  a  great  many  nurses  in  New  Zealand  have  completed  the  required  preparation for a clinical Master’s degree,  relatively  few  have progressed to NP registration. To address this situation, Massey University and Auckland University have been awarded funding to pilot 20 NP training positions by Health Workforce New Zealand in 2016. This training programme seeks to increase coordination between potential NPs, their employers, tertiary education providers, and New Zealand Nursing Council. The aim is to align and promote NP preparation, registration and employment into a seamless pathway.

Part of the entry criteria to the programme was confirmation from my employer indicating support for me to enrol in the NP training programme, release for clinical supervision time and a commitment to employ me as a NP on registration.

What is your advice to others studying this degree?

Just do it! Breathe; never underestimate the power of the breath. Enjoy the journey and the learning. It isn’t easy to decide to go back to school so  feel proud of what you are doing. Balance is important – a balance between work and play. Be kind to yourself. Ask for and accept help. 

What is your advice for landing a great job (like you have) in the field?

You have to know what you want and go after it. I have been very fortunate to have obtained my place on the Nurse Practitioner training programme, which has given me a comprehensive structured learning program with the agreement of a job at the completion.




Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey