EIT’s new Head of the School of Nursing is an experienced academic leader and researcher who is looking forward to growing and developing the institute’s nursing programmes in a changing tertiary landscape.
Dr Denise Blanchard, a registered nurse with a PhD in nursing from Victoria University of Wellington, started in the new role this week. Denise, who is originally from Christchurch, has spent the last 13 years working in Australia.
She was most recently Associate Professor and Head of Discipline, Nursing in the College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing at the University of Newcastle in the Central Coast Clinical School. Previous positions have included Associate and Acting Head of School at Charles Sturt University and Head of Postgraduate (nursing and midwifery) at the University of Canberra. Before going to Australia, Denise was employed at Massey University in Wellington.
Denise says she is looking forward to getting into her role at EIT, especially as the institute, along with other Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics (ITPs), transitions into Te Pūkenga.
“EIT has always had a good reputation, even when I was working in New Zealand. I applied for this role because I believed it was a good fit for me.”
“In my previous role I was what they call a discipline lead, which is really the person who oversees the direction of nursing and so forth in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. I’ve also been an acting head of school at the university with a cohort of about 3,500 undergraduate students.”
Denise says the Te Pūkenga merger offers opportunities for nursing programmes across New Zealand.
“We can actually look at things in a broader sense, rather than being in our own silos. While we need to acknowledge and account for regional differences, we also need to look at what we can actually develop as a larger cohort.”
“Te Pūkenga also potentially offers us a better way of sharing work experience placements around the country for our students,” she says.
As a committed researcher, Denise says that she is impressed with the research culture at EIT and is looking forward to working with the Research and Innovation Centre (RIC) to support the further development of research and researchers within Nursing.
“I’m enthusiastic about research and evidence-based practice and will also be encouraging our students to undertake research at all stages of their learning journey.”
Denise will retain adjunct positions with the University of Newcastle and Charles Sturt University, Australia. She remains the primary supervisor for several MPhil and PhD students focusing on aged care, delirium and quality standards.
She is working on several systematic reviews focusing on the best place for learning for students in regional and rural areas and has just completed several commissioned articles on Parkinson’s Disease for the Australian Journal of General Practice, specifically non-motor symptoms and speech.
As a member of Sigma Theta Tau and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning, Denise networks to share best practices in learning and teaching, particularly for simulation science and guidelines for teaching and learning.
Denise is looking forward to being back in New Zealand and getting to know Hawke’s Bay.
EIT Executive Dean Professor Nat Waran says that as an experienced academic, Denise adds considerable value to the School of Nursing at EIT, which will be especially important as we transition to Te Pūkenga.
“We are delighted to appoint someone of Denise’s calibre and look forward to being able to benefit from her considerable experience in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education and research within Australasia. .”