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’

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The new Tiaho Mai

There has been a lot of discussion in the media in recent times about how we as a society and in particular how District Health Boards care for our mentally unwell. As a health board, we recognise the importance of treating our very unwell patients with the best, evidence-based therapeutic environment possible. To this end, I am very pleased to share with you the imminent start of the new Tiaho Mai. We will soon be moving some patients into other refurbished but temporary areas to allow for construction to begin over the next couple of months.

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How are we really doing?

Recently, we shared with the media the findings of a report on CM Health’s performance.

The report, Quality Improvement at Counties Manukau Health; A Case Study Evaluation, led by Professor Robin Gauld from the University of Otago, showed that while there are definitely areas for improvement, we really are heading in the direction we want to go.  What’s more, we’ve developed a distinctive culture here where everyone is committed to continually doing better.

We’re trying to deliver healthcare services to a population of 500,000 with high levels of socio-economic deprivation and the well-documented corresponding healthcare challenges of which you will all be aware. It’s complex and expensive, and we have to constantly be asking ourselves; how are we really doing?

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People helping people

Imagine you are experiencing a long-term health condition that is having a big effect on your life. While your doctor can tell you what your condition is and your treatment options, for many people it’s not until they talk to someone who has “walked in their shoes”, and has the time to listen and understand their individual circumstances, that they start to find ways to cope with, recover from, or live well with their condition.

This powerful tool of engagement is called Peer Support, and it’s being used by the Kia Kaha team, led by health psychologist Leona Didsbury at East Tamaki Healthcare, to change the way services connect with people who have long-term conditions, who are not managing well. I’m now joined by David Codyre, Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead Manaaki Hauora, Supporting Wellness Campaign to tell us more.

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Moments of excellence

We have moments of excellence in our organisation every day and that’s due to the people who work here. People who are passionate about what they do and have a real ‘fire in their belly’ for providing the best care they can and making a difference. Meet Eti Televave and Tanya du Plessis, two staff members who strive to be the best in what they do, yet remain humble, thankful and determined to give back to the people and communities that supported them. Eti is a senior physiotherapist who recently graduated from a Pasifika Leadership Programme and Tanya was awarded Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) Pharmacist of the year (2015).

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The most enjoyable blog I have written

Before I begin, I have to say writing this blog gave me so much enjoyment. The two short letters I’m about to share, highlight the amazing, caring, compassionate and skilled people working at CM Health, and these are just the people I know about. The below feedback was sent in from Sandy Neva who works in EC and the Mihaere family whose premature baby, Kaiden was admitted to Neonatal Care.

Both these stories are great examples of our values and strategy in action.

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