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June 29, 2007

First Nurse Practitioner on the West Coast

The West Coast has its first Nurse Practitioner.

After six years of hard work Anne Fitzwater of Fox Glacier was yesterday awarded Nurse Practitioner status by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Mrs Fitzwater is one of only two Rural Nurse Practitioners in the South Island.

Nurse practitioners are defined as expert nurses who work within a specific area of practice incorporating advanced knowledge and skills. They practise both independently and in collaboration with other health care professionals to promote health, prevent disease and to diagnose, assess and manage peoples' health needs. They provide a wide range of assessment and treatment interventions, including differential diagnoses, ordering, conducting and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests and administering therapies for the management of potential and actual health needs.

Mrs Fitzwater said she was extremely pleased to have achieved the new qualification.

"They gave me an indication that I had been successful after the interview but I didn't believe it until I got the letter."

While she was delighted to have been awarded Nurse Practitioner Status, she is now just looking forward to having some more time for herself.

"Working full-time and studying is quite a lot."

In order to qualify for Nurse Practitioner status people first need be a registered nurse, have a minimum of four years experience in a specific area, have successfully completed a clinically focused masters degree approved by the Nursing Council and have passed a Nursing Council assessment of Nurse Practitioner competencies and criteria.

Director of Nursing and Midwifery Jane O'Malley said Nursing Council had set an extremely high standard and she congratulated Anne on her accomplishment.

"The amount of work and time that Anne has put into achieving this was enormous," Ms O'Malley said.

Chief Executive Kevin Hague said becoming a Nurse Practitioner was extremely challenging and it was incredibly special for Anne that she had been recognised as an expert in her field.
Mr Hague congratulated Anne on her achievement - but also wanted to honour the numerous staff members who had taken on extra training and educational opportunities, in both their own and work time.

"The West Coast is extremely lucky to have such a high number of dedicated and highly skilled professionals working here. The commitment shown by so many staff to their professions and to their communities is something that deserves to be acknowledged and applauded."

For more information please contact
Vikki Carter
Community Liaison Officer
03 768 0499, Extn. 2665
027 245 9595

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