Two cousins, both serving the community as nurses inspired Dean Hawea to become a nurse. Dean had always enjoyed caring for people, and saw a nursing degree as a portable skill that would allow him to travel.
He had previously worked in a variety of jobs, mostly as a labourer, before deciding to return to Gisborne to study nursing at EIT Tairawhiti where he became the first member of his immediate family to earn a degree.
Although he had earlier completed the health science programme at EIT, getting back into education was a whole new adventure.
But the lecturers and staff at EIT were supportive, and made sure he successfully completed his studies. In the end, it was “not hard at all” he said.
The highlights of his study were his clinical placements, where he was able to get experience in a variety of fields, including elder care, mental health services at Gisborne hospital.
After being placed in the hospital’s medical ward a couple of times, he decided that was where he wanted to be.
“I liked how busy it was and realised the variety of work would be a good grounding for my future career.
At the end of his final year last year in 2018, his dream was realised when he was employed in Gisborne Hospital’s medical ward.
Hauora Tairāwhiti is sponsoring Dean through the post-graduate Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programme this year, which will enable him to do postgraduate study alongside his work as a registered nurse, which he believes will help his career.
For the time being, he plans to stay in Gisborne, but would eventually like to travel.
Although male nurses are still a minority, he says it has presented him with no problems and points out there are now a growing number of men entering this field.
He encourages more men to follow him into the nursing profession.