Te Whare Taumata O Nēhi Taiwhenua O Aotearoa

Rural nurses New Zealand

Te Whare Taumata O Nēhi Taiwhenua O Aotearoa bring an informed and united nurse perspective to the Hauora Taiwhenua Council.  

About Us

Our Chapter includes enrolled nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students from across rural New Zealand.  

We advocate and encourage the New Zealand rural nursing workforce and support access to education and supervision for rural nurses.  

Through our knowledge, connections, and expertise, we work to support and strengthen rural nursing in Aotearoa. 

Executive Committee

Debi Lawry

Board Member Central Otago

I have been a nurse for 47 years. It is a career that has been varied, challenging and utterly rewarding. I have worked in urban settings, and rural New Zealand. From tertiary/quaternary hospitals to remote rural hospitals, I have been privileged to work with nurses and other healthcare professionals who share my passion for providing quality healthcare. The past 15 years my focus has been rural New Zealand. My jobs included nursing leadership roles and latterly management roles.

I joined the Rural Hospital Network executive team, to provide a nursing voice in this national organisation. I learned that rural nurses belonged to various organisations – but these focussed on the nursing profession rather than the challenges of nursing in a rural environment. Some nurses participated in the Rural GP Network. This organisation provided leadership in the rural health space, but was strongly primary healthcare focussed at that time. So rural hospital nurses didn’t identify with the organisation.

Eventually an opportunity arose for a group of like minded rural nurses, to establish a network for all rural nurses to connect. It differs from other organisations in that it has non financial membership, it connects to rural nurses across New Zealand via it’s Facebook presence and its website. An executive has been established to champion projects and provide leadership. We have deliberately tried to include nurses throughout Aotearoa working in a variety of areas. Our aim is inclusion and to improve the profile and support of rural nurses.

I live in Central Otago so have strong links rurally throughout the lower South Island. However, through Rural Nurses NZ, I feel part of a larger whanau of rural healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, and these connections remind me constantly of all that rural people have in common. Together we have more chance to improve support for rural nurses and therefore improve the healthcare that is provided to our rural communities.

Rhonda Johnson

Clinical Health Planner Central Otago

Rhonda Johnson, RN.  Working as a consultant Clinical Health Planner for Jacobs.  Lives in Central Otago.  Member of Rural Nurses group since foundation in 2017.

Virginia Maskill

Researcher & Senior Lecturer at Otago University Christchurch

Virginia Maskill has been an Executive Committee Representative Member (Educators/Academics with Rural interest), for Rural Nurses, New Zealand, since 2017.  Virginia is also a researcher and senior lecturer at the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies at the University of Otago, Christchurch where her role includes being the Rural Health Academic Lead, for the Centre, undertaking rural health care research, and convening the Rural Nursing and the Primary Health Care – Urban/Rural Papers Papers.

Emma Dillon

Nurse Practitioner Otautau and Riverton

Currently working in Southland as a Nurse Practitioner in Otautau and Riverton (Aparima). Living in Pahia near the south-coast of sunny Southland. Member of RNNZ since establishment in 2017.

Catherine Beazley

Nurse Practitioner Hokianga Health

I began working as a Nurse Practitioner in 2013 and currently work in primary health care for Hokianga Health (a Maori Provider) in the remote north-west of the North Island.
Having started work in rural practice in 2000, I have gained experience in a number of positions including working as an inpatient RN on small acute ward; rural practice nursing and community nursing.
Regionally I am a member of the Primary Options Programme Northland group and Manaaki Manawa Heart Care Clinical Governance Group. I am also involved in a new rural research project, focused on the impact of introducing a haematology analyser at a rural hospital. I believe we need to work collectively to inspire future growth of this particular area of specialist nursing.

Christine Dorsey

Hospital Services Manager Hokianga Health

I live in the Hokianga, in rural North Island. I am currently employed at Hokianga Health as the Hospital Services Manager for our small rural hospital. My roles include overseeing the 24/7 accident and emergency, acute inpatients, and residential care services.

My background is in emergency care and midwifery across both primary and secondary care.

At an organisational level I am a member of the executive team and co-ordinate internal meetings and ongoing professional development for staff. I am also currently the chairperson for the South Hokianga St John- an endangered service in the current climate.

With regards to rural nursing my interests are in developing standardised clinical guidelines and standing orders for safe, effective use in rural New Zealand. In addition to this I am supportive of further work and resources to improve easily accessible professional development options for rural nurses.

Deb Bailey Lawson

Rural Generalist Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast Buller/ Te Wai Pounamu

Deb Bailey Lawson transplanted from the US in 2002. She has worked in rural primary healthcare starting in 2007, moving out from her undergraduate degree in 2005 to a rural placement as a Practice Nurse in Reefton, West Coast South Island.

She has always enjoyed working in rural places and working amongst rural people. She completed her Masters of Nursing – clinical, Primary Care in 2016, within the Nurse Practitioner pathway set out by NCNZ. While the 20016 Kaikoura Earthquake caused a bit of personal upheaval for a time, she has now returned to the West Coast landing a job as a Rural Nurse Specialist in Ngakawau. She is married to a wonderful guy named Chris and is the proud Grandmother of 6 grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, running, gardening and appreciating God’s creations.

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