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From the slaughter room to the doctors’ surgery

February 16, 2021

When the EIT Tairāwhiti Bachelor of Nursing students dissected some sheep organs in a class, it was like “just another day at work” for Wairoa’s Emma Mackereth. 

However, this was the only similarity with her previous job on the gutting stand in the slaughter room at a meat processing plant, and her three years of study for a career in nursing. 

But on her journey, she has found out she can change her future with education and she now has a full-time job as a practice nurse at a Wairoa doctors’ surgery. 

She also found out living an hour’s drive from where she studied at EIT was no problem. 

“I caught the bus every day from Wairoa so I could stay living at home. It was way cheaper. 

 I didn’t need to get a student loan – I appreciate my parents let me stay for free,” says Emma. 

The family moved to Wairoa after she finished high school in 2015. 

“I was working at AFFCO Wairoa and I wanted something more fulfilling. I also have an aunty I look up to who is a nurse. 

“There are so many different pathways to choose from with nursing and that appealed to me. 

“I didn’t mind doing the work on the gutting stand but I would prefer to not be doing that.” 

She fondly remembered the day in a biology class where a sheep’s heart and lungs were dissected, bringing back memories of her first job.  

Overall, she loved her three-year programme. 

“It was great. We all got on well. There were 14 of us at the end and we have been a close, supportive group.” 

As with the rest of the world, the global pandemic Covid 19 added another dimension to Emma’s last year of study. 

“During the remote learning it was hard to stay motivated, but I did my research paper (on rheumatic fever in rural communities) during lockdown.” 

Emma’s last placement was at the doctors’ practice where she now works. 

“When I finished, I was asked if I wanted a job. Everything is working out perfectly.” 

For more information about the Bachelor of Nursing programme at EIT Tairāwhiti, go to the website or call into the main office on Palmerston Road.