One Gisborne man this year became the first in his immediate family to graduate with a degree.
Dean Hawea worked in a variety of jobs, mostly as a labourer, before deciding to return to Gisborne to study nursing at EIT.
He was inspired by two of his cousins who had both become registered nurses, and because he had always enjoyed caring for people.
He also figured that a nursing degree would be a portable skill that would allow him to travel.
Although he had earlier completed the health science programme at EIT, getting back into education was a whole new adventure for Dean.
But the lecturers and staff at EIT were very supportive, making sure he got through and in the end he said that it was “not hard at all”.
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 and working at the hospital.
After being placed in Gisborne 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 his dream was realised when he was given a position in the hospital’s medical ward.
Hauora Tairāwhiti is sponsoring him through the post-graduate Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programme this year, enabling 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 he would eventually like
to travel further afield.
Although male nurses are still a minority, he says it has presented him with no problems and says there are now a growing number of men entering this field.