Ondrea Gooch has dedicated her adult life to being a nurse and that commitment will be rewarded when she graduates with a Master of Nursing Science and is honoured as EIT Tairāwhiti Valedictorian on Friday.
Ondrea, 48, is born and bred Tairāwhiti and knew when she finished at Lytton High School in Gisborne that she wanted to be a nurse.
It proved to be the right decision and started her on a long journey of academic achievement and frontline nursing experience.
“When I was at high school, I was at the point where I wanted to make a decision about my future. I remember these nurses came to my high school and showed us a video of all these young nurses and working on the wards, and it just looked exciting.”
“I am naturally quite a caring person, and it was just something that really appealed to me. Also, there are so many different types of nursing, so there are many options.”
With the decision made, Ondrea headed down to EIT’s Hawke’s Bay Campus and enrolled in the Diploma of Nursing.
“I was a diploma-trained nurse because they didn’t have degree training at that stage in 1993. The year later, EIT introduced the degree, but by then I had already obtained my degree elsewhere.”
Ondrea is a Nurse Education Coordinator at Gisborne Hospital Te Whatu Ora Tairāwhiti, having risen through the ranks at the hospital while achieving her postgraduate diploma and now her master’s.
“I facilitate and build frameworks around nursing education for our nursing staff at Te Whatu Ora Tairāwhiti, really. I build training programmes; I facilitate and present on education and I ensure that our nurses are keeping up with the competencies they need for their roles.”
Throw her academic work into the mix of a busy job and it has been rewarding but challenging for Ondrea and her husband and two children.
“The expectation when you become a nurse is that you have to have ongoing continuing education. There’s so many hours you have to do over three years for the Nursing Council. But not only that, to provide high-quality care to the people of Tairāwhiti, we need to have well-educated nurses.”
Ondrea’s master’s thesis consisted of secondary research, where she analysed the key factors that contributed to competency for new critical care nurses.
She says it was only when she received the certificate confirming that that she had achieved her master’s that it finally sunk in.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve actually completed this,’ and it’s an amazing feeling.”
Ondrea’s attention now turns to the EIT Tairāwhiti graduation ceremony to be held this Friday (28th October 2022) at the War Memorial Theatre in Gisborne. Being named Valedictorian was something she was simply not expecting.
“At first I was a little taken aback because I’m quite a shy person, but then I realised that it’s such a real honour to stand up and be the Valedictorian.”
It will also be a time of celebration for her family.
“My family will be there, and we’ll probably go for dinner later, so it will be a celebratory day.”
Lizzy Mackenzie, the Postgraduate Programme Coordinator in EIT’s School of Nursing, says: “Ondrea’s passion for nursing, and dedication to continuing education has contributed to her being selected as Valedictorian.”
“Ondrea is motivated, caring, and an experienced Registered Nurse who is an asset to the Tairāwhiti community and the nursing profession of Aotearoa NZ. EIT is proud that Ondrea is a Master of Nursing Science graduate and this year’s Valedictorian. Congratulations, Ondrea!”