First in the Family

Every day I hear stories that remind me why I love my job.  This week I met an impressive young woman whose story I would like to share.

Around seven years ago we set up the ‘Grow Our Own’ workforce programme aimed at supporting young people, Maaori and Pacific in our area, to consider a career in health with us.

The programme received a massive kick-start through our relationship with The Tindall Foundation who provided an investment in the early years of over $3 million. Sir Stephen Tindall also played a critical role to help sponsor the programme through these early stages.  This investment provided that platform for James Cook High School and Tangaroa College to come on board and enabled the creation of the Health Science Academies.

The Academies provide extra support in Science, Maths, and English to prepare students to gain entry to tertiary study, including medical school, as well as direct contact with doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in the health field. They also enabled us to showcase practical examples of the kind of work we do at Counties Manukau Health every day.

The key was to help these young people gain the relevant NCEA qualification to get into the right kinds of tertiary programmes that would ultimately led to a path back to us, with a guaranteed job once they qualified.

We understand that not every student would end up working with us. The programme not only cultivates new ambitions about a career in the health sector, but it can also lead students to a range of careers that these subjects can offer.

The rationale underpinning it was pretty simple – if we grow a workforce that reflects our community, then we can improve how we respond to our community and better meet their healthcare needs.

We know that attracting and developing talent to the health sector is a competitive business. We draw together people regionally, nationally and internationally to meet our growing workforce demands.

We also felt that investing in these young people would have a far wider reach in the community, as well as having a positive impact on their families. And that ultimately, if we’re successful, we would enable them to become the next generation of healthcare leaders in our community.

From little things, big things grow. ‘Grow Our Own’ is now working across the region, has received funding from the Government, and has been examined by other sectors to see what they might be able to replicate in their own communities.

It was therefore a hugely satisfying moment when I was having a coffee in Ko Awatea, clearing my emails, when a young woman came up and introduced herself. Her name was Fonoifafo.  Fono was part of our first cohort in the Health Science Academy at Tangaroa College, and that process inspired her into studying nursing.

She is the first crop of young people to complete the programme, and the first in her family to be university educated.  She is driven to support children and work in our community, and has been placed with our Kidz First Public Health Nursing Team.  The day she introduced herself was the first part of her induction into Counties Manukau Health as part of our 2017 Graduate Nurse intake. Throughout her studies, she also kept connected with Counties Manukau Health through Ko Awatea’s Handle the Jandal youth-led campaign.

I don’t know who was more proud.

It was satisfying to see something go from concept, to implementation, and now to see it transforming lives as we envisaged.

We’re privileged to have supported Fono to achieve her dreams. And she in turn has helped us make Counties Manukau Health a place that not only provides excellent healthcare, but also transforms the lives of those who work here.

Part of the inspiration for ‘Grow Our Own’ was my own experience. Back in the United Kingdom, I grew up in a place that was every bit as challenging as parts of our community with low levels of tertiary education, and even lower paid jobs for those who lived there.

I was lucky because a couple of people helped me. I ended up being the first person in my family to go to university. This education helped me transform my life, shaped my ambitions, and enabled me to have the life that I have today.

I can’t repay the people who helped me enough for their belief in me, but hopefully I can pay it forward to others. So thank you Fono for helping me achieve my dreams too.

What a great way to start the New Year. Thank you again Fono, and welcome to Counties Manukau Health.

Remember to look up

Last week I was privileged to attend the graduation of 25 CM Health staff members, who recently completed the Ko Awatea Leadership Academy – Emerging Leaders Programme. Over the last 10 months, these students have juggled work, family and social commitments to gain real leadership skills and knowledge. They have also been on a journey of self-discovery to find out the kind of leader they are and the kind of leader they would like to be.

Brooke Hayward  shares her experience of being on the Emerging Leaders Programme and how in the busyness of our day to day work we should always remember our ‘Why’

Continue reading “Remember to look up”

Speak up

Geraint presents Maria with her certificate
Geraint presents Maria with her certificate

Last week I was fortunate to be invited to Pukekohe Hospital for a coffee and a chat. While I was there, I made a surprise presentation to a lovely lady called Maria Burch. Maria works at Franklin Memorial Hospital and has been a Health and Safety representative for the past five years.   Along with 19 safety reps from across the organisation, Maria was recognised for her contribution to keeping our workplace safe for our patients, visitors and staff. Maria received her award for outstanding health and safety engagement and service.

In fact, Maria is so dedicated to her job that she nearly missed the presentation. When asked if she was coming, she said she would be late as she had a health and safety audit to complete – now that’s dedication.  I’m joined by Maria to tell us more.

Continue reading “Speak up”

Young doctors making a difference

Dr Lyndon
Dr Lyndon

For those of you who missed it, the NZ Herald recently wrote a wonderful piece on Dr Mataroria Lyndon, a clinical fellow at Ko Awatea, who is off to do amazing things at Harvard University in Boston. Mataroria was one of three winners in this year’s Rose Hellaby Awards – a fund established by the late Rose Hellaby to celebrate and support Māori education. Mataroria will receive $30,000 to go towards his master’s degree in public health at Harvard and while we wish him well on his journey, we also look forward to the day he returns. Also receiving an award was Dr Marinus Stowers an Orthopaedic Registrar and Research Fellow at Ko Awatea.

I’m incredibly proud of Mataroria and Marinus and their passion and drive for improving Maori Health in their communities. They are both great examples of our future leaders and strong advocates of our ‘Grow our Own programme’, which encourages more Maaori and Pacific people to consider health as a career.

Continue reading “Young doctors making a difference”

Volunteers at the ‘Heart’ of CM Health

Our volunteers do a wonderful job, and it was great to see this acknowledged during National Volunteer Week (21-27 June).  To top off the week, our Manukau SuperClinic (MSC) volunteers were runner-ups at the 2015 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  Presenting the Award for ‘Health care provider service volunteer team’ was Associate Health Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “This award shows what people can do when they work together,” said Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “You are indeed the face behind great customer service.”

While it was great for our MSC volunteers to be recognised, all of our volunteers at CM Health offer their time generously to help patients and visitors throughout our various sites.  Being the first face, our visitors see as they come through the doors, a warm welcome, and a smile from a volunteer does wonders for a person, who may be vulnerable, anxious or unsure where to go.

Continue reading “Volunteers at the ‘Heart’ of CM Health”

Recognising our hard working House Officers

Dr Neil Stewart
Dr Neil Stewart

Each month a House Officer is nominated by members of the clinical and wider multidisciplinary team for the prestigious title of ‘House Officer of the Month’.  It’s an award that has grown in popularity since it first started in 2011, bringing with it a sense of a ‘job well done’ for the doctors who are nominated.  Last month (May) Dr Neil Stewart received the Award, after being nominated by his colleagues during his General Medicine rotation on Tiitoki team.  Words like committed, hardworking, dedicated, professional and friendly were just some of the comments people shared.  One person said, “We need more doctors like him.”

So what does it take to be a House Officer in a busy hospital?  Neil shares his thoughts about why he decided to become a doctor and his passion for the work that he does.

Continue reading “Recognising our hard working House Officers”

Congratulations to our CM Health cleaners

The cleaners at the Manukau SuperClinic celebrate the completion of their course
The cleaners at the Manukau SuperClinic celebrate the completion of their course

Now and then I come across a story of staff going the extra mile, whether it’s for their patients and colleagues or achieving personal and work milestones.  This week I’d like to recognise the 190 cleaners who have embarked on a Level 3 National Certificate in Cleaning and Caretaking.  This is the first, and largest intake of cleaners to undertake the course, not only locally but nationally.   I’m delighted to report that 55 cleaners have now graduated with many more to follow.

Continue reading “Congratulations to our CM Health cleaners”