When she was a school leaver, becoming a registered nurse wasn’t Laura Stone’s first choice, but she couldn’t be happier now about her career direction.
The former Havelock North High School student was initially planning to pursue midwifery but was told it was a good idea to start with a Bachelor of Nursing. Halfway through her first year of degree studies at EIT, Laura realised that she loved nursing and wanted to stay on that path.
“You can do nursing anywhere in the world,” she says. “There are so many job opportunities and no two days are the same. There are always opportunities to develop your skills and learn more.”
Laura is excited to have been offered a one-year contract on a Nursing Entry to Practice (NETP) programme, which will see her working in the Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s cardiac medical ward for four shifts a week while studying a postgraduate paper at EIT.
Cardiac care was the 21-year-old’s first choice for the NETP programme and, having spent her final, nine-week placement in the unit, she feels it’s a good area to be starting her nursing career. At some time in the future, however, she would love to work as a paediatric nurse.
Laura and her cohort were the first to study the EIT degree in ‘blended’ fashion. That meant, in addition to clinical practice experience, being on campus several days a week while also undertaking online activities.
“Initially I found it quite challenging,” she says, “but I got used to it. You really have to be self-motivated – it gives you more responsibility for your learning.”
It also helped having lecturers who went the distance in responding to her emailed questions.
Although Laura found it stressful sitting exams, she set herself a high bar. She scored a run of As and her lowest mark was a B+.
It hasn’t been all work and no play, however. Laura enjoys art, walking and a good social life. She and her fiancé James McIlroy will get wed in September.
“Everything has relied on finishing my degree and getting a paid job,” she says of these plans.
Laura is looking forward to earning and although she anticipates the move from student to being responsible for her own patients and their care will be huge, she believes she has been well-prepared to work as a nurse.