Student nurses in the Cook Islands have lots of extra reading to look forward to, with staff from EIT’s School of Nursing donating textbooks to support their three-year training programme.
Spearheading the book-donation drive, EIT’s Assistant Head of School Nursing Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues for textbooks they were no longer using. In the four weeks since, they have been piling up in her office so that now, she says, there are 112 to send away.
The campaign was prompted by a recent holiday to the island group and ongoing communication with the principal of the Cook Island’s School of Nursing, New Zealander Mary MacManus.
“They have also asked EIT’s School of Nursing to review their new curriculum, introduced this year for their Diploma in Nursing programme, so that has been on my to-do list too.”
Jennifer says Mary was pleased to accept the offer of books, which are needed to build up a library for use by the student nurses and health professionals working in the Cook Islands. While the island group has an 80-bed hospital on Rarotonga and a 20-bed hospital on Aitutaki, most nurses work in primary health care out in the community.
The Cooks have a population of 11,000 people living on 15 islands scattered over two million square kilometres of ocean.
“Often nurses are working on their own, running a clinic where the challenge is to be a Jack of all trades, dealing with whatever problems come in the door.”
Student nurses start practicums in their first year of training, undertaking 1900 clinical hours to complete their diplomas compared to the 1100 hours required for New Zealand’s Bachelor of Nursing.
Jennifer says she wasn’t expecting so many donations – “and they’re not small books”. Hefty tomes covering areas such as anatomy and physiology won’t date. Also useful will be those on maternal and child health, which make up a big component of nurse training and practice in the Cooks.
“They provide a foundation of knowledge – you always need a textbook.”
Offering a regular service to Rarotonga, Pacific Freight Management Ltd has offered to ship the books free of charge.
“I only have to figure out how to get them to Auckland now,” says Jennifer. “They may be able to hitch a ride or we could arrange for a courier.”
EIT’s School of Nursing is attracting more Pacific Island students, and this year it formalised project coordinator Pacific Maryanne Marsters’ role as a mentor for those enrolled in its nursing studies programme.