Nurse Education in Family DNA

June 29, 2016

Jennifer Roberts-3612portraitRecently appointed head of EIT’s nursing school, Jennifer Roberts continues to build on the strong leadership she has shown in the various roles she has filled during eight years at the institute.

 However, Roberts’ association with EIT goes back even further – to 1996, when she joined the first intake of Bachelor of Nursing students on campus.

After graduating, she worked in clinical roles in New Zealand and Australian hospitals.  It was supervising undergraduate and graduate nurses while employed as associate clinical development nurse at Melbourne Private Hospital that she decided on a career in nurse education.

“I always enjoyed teaching and mentoring the students and new staff,” she recalls.

Joining EIT as a senior lecturer in 2009, she was appointed assistant head of the nursing school in 2012.  During that time she oversaw the implementation of the blended Bachelor of Nursing curriculum, the development of the school’s professional practice series, the development and implementation of a dedicated education unit project with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and the integration of simulated learning in the nursing curriculum.

The active researcher gained her Master of Nursing through EIT in 2009 and she is currently completing a doctoral degree in education.   Her doctorate topic explores the preparedness and experience of New Zealand schools of nursing and nurse educators in working with Māori nursing students.

Roberts believes the school will continue to build on staff strengths in research.

“We are fostering work with stakeholders and colleagues across the institute.  It’s an incredibly strong school.  We have a wonderful reputation with partners in practice and a capable and positive team of staff.  Really, it’s quite a pleasure working with them.”

In her late 30s, she is one of a number of relatively young women who have been appointed to senior roles at EIT. 

“The staff are open and ready for change and new ideas,” Roberts says of these key appointments.

At the same time, she acknowledges her debt to “those people who have gone before me”.   She includes in that her mother, Dr Susan Jacobs, who recently retired but whose 30 years of service to EIT included heading the nursing school and, more recently, filling the role of executive dean of education, humanities and health science.

Roberts says her mother’s role modelling has helped her meet the challenges involved in balancing the demands of her new role while managing family commitments.  She and husband John live in Napier and the couple’s eight-year-old daughter Frances is enjoying her first year at Taikura Rudolf Steiner School in Hastings.