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All roads lead to nursing career

Bachelor of Nursing student Rachelle Time

Bachelor of Nursing student Rachelle Time decided she wanted to be a nurse when she was at secondary school, but it has been a long road to getting to her studies.

Rachelle Time and her family

Mrs Time and her husband Alexis settled back in New Zealand in 2009, to
start their own whanau, after a few years living overseas.

It is often said that the journey is more important than the destination, and one student who knows that better than anyone is Rachelle Time, Ngā Rauru Kītahi.

The Bachelor of Nursing student is juggling family, work and study to realise her dream of becoming a nurse – a dream she put on hold until now.

The 34-year-old from Lower Hutt decided she wanted to be a nurse after spending a week with the New Zealand Army when she was in her final year at Sacred Heart College.

“It was here I decided I would like to be a medic or nurse in the Army, however my journey to get to nursing wasn't quite what I envisioned! I decided to take a gap year after school and went and worked at summer camps in the United States, based in upstate New York. I returned to New Zealand after six months at the age of 19, needing a job.”

Mrs Time landed a role at Work and Income, working with youth beneficiaries. “I loved helping people in vulnerable situations and had a real passion for bettering the lives of young Kiwis, but after about three years travel called again, this time through my now-husband’s rugby career.”

This opportunity took the couple around the world, living in Australia, Scotland, England and the Netherlands, before they returned to New Zealand in 2009 to start their own whānau.

“After our second child, I started working as receptionist for the Hutt Hospital Emergency Department and this reignited my desire to become a nurse. So here I am after my extremely long gap year and four kids later – in my final semester and well on my way to becoming a registered nurse!”

Mrs Time still works at the hospital on a casual basis. “No shift is the same. Like most emergency departments we can’t predict what will walk through the door, and at times the receptionist is the first person you encounter.”

She chose Massey because she could initially study from home, making the transition from mum to student easier. “I actually remember attending Massey Open Day at the Wellington campus with a young baby and the biggest attraction for me was that Massey was able to support my learning as a parent. The staff have been really supportive and understanding of the dynamics of studying with children, and with four of them it has definitely been a challenge.”

She is also a very hands-on mum. “Running a household is busy. It’s pretty much ‘go go go’ from 5am until 11pm most days, between breakfasts, lunches, school runs, university or clinical placement, after-school sports, homework, dinner and preparation to do it all again the following day. I also have to try fit in my own planning for study and assignments, so it’s full on, but everyone is happy and healthy, and we all do our bit to lighten the load. I love being a mum to our four children [Oakley, 10, Adelia, 9, Emerson, 6 and Avery 3], but I also love being able to help people.”

Mrs Time says her cultural background has also helped shape her career goals. “My father is Māori/Pakeha, my mother is Niuean/Pakeha and my husband Alexis is Sāmoan, so I am particularly passionate about helping our Māori and Pasifika people. My hopes for the future are to use more Te Reo within my everyday living, and to graduate and be a registered nurse with the hope of educating vulnerable people around positive health outcomes.”

She recently attended the Indigenous Nurses Aotearoa Conference, as a guest of the School of Nursing, alongside other nursing students and lecturer Jenny Green. She says it was an inspiring few days. “It felt really good to be in a room with like-minded people. I feel very privileged to have been able to listen to some amazing speakers that articulate many ideas I tautoko [support].

“Kerri Nuku [New Zealand Nurses Organisation kaiwhakahaere] mentioned how Māori nurses often feel like they leave their culture at the door and pick it up on the way out. I know how important it is for me to not allow this to happen, not only for my own tikanga [culture] and values, but to ensure I am giving the best version of myself for my patients, no matter what culture they identify with,” she says.

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