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Today is International Nurses Day.

There are over 500 nurses and healthcare assistants in Tairawhiti and today they are honoured and recognised for how important they are to the community.

This year's International Nurses Day theme is “A Voice to Lead — Invest in nursing, and respect rights to secure global health”.

Several nurses and healthcare workers seen as leaders in the community were asked about their mahi and International Nurses Day —

■ What does International Nurses Day mean to you?

Sue Cranston — peer assessor, registered nurse, paediatric quality educator/coordinator: “It is a day to recognise and acknowledge nurses and health care workers as a profession. The different themes they come up with each year are important as they aim to recognise the different levels of care that nurses offer. It is a day for promoting nurses and healthcare workers. It puts us at the forefront for the public to see and recognise that we are the backbone to the industry.”

Chelsea Taylor — new grad theatre nurse: “It is a day of recognition as public servants. We put so much back into the community.”

Janine Brown — mental health clinical educator: “It is a day to acknowledge nurses and healthcare workers in general. Many nurses specialise in specific areas and are leaders in their profession.”

■ What is your favourite part about your mahi?

Kaa Te Mihi Harrison — registered nurse dialysis unit: “I love my job; it is so gratifying. I get to see the same patients three times a week so I get to build great rapport with my patients. We make jokes and have great banter. I get to know my patients on a really personal level:”

Courtney Tietjens — registered nurse/mental health crisis team: “Knowing that I can make a difference in my community and help people in times of crisis by helping people feel safe.

Chelsea Taylor: “As we don't have much patient contact, I really enjoy working in a place with specialist skills and love that we continuously get to upskill as it keeps our minds stimulated.

Kim Te Purei — Ward 5 healthcare assistant: “Working in a team environment and ensuring quality and services are of a high standard. I also love helping patients. Living in a rural community, there's a great community feel and we know many people who come in.”

■ What is your advice for those looking at studying healthcare?

Janine Brown: “Embrace it. It is an awesome career. Through nursing, I have been able to travel throughout New Zealand and Australia. Nursing is a career that can take you many places. I have never lost my passion for working in mental health. I love what I do. I get to meet awesome nurses and patients.”

Kim Te Purei: “When people are first starting out I ask them, ‘what are your reasons for wanting to work in healthcare?' Remember those reasons when times get tough. Those reasons will help you get through and will be your motivation for years to come.”

Sophia Stuart — peritoneal dialysis renal clinical nurse specialist: “Hard work pays off. Commitment and dedication to the job is essential.”

Chelsea Taylor: “The study may be hard, it requires hard work and determination, but once you finish studying and become a nurse, it's an amazing feeling and well worth it.”

Courtney Tietjens: “There is so much more to mental health than what people think. You can specialise in certain areas and become a specialist in your area. There are so many pathways. I would encourage everyone to give it a go.”

angels on earth: Covid-19 has underlined the importance of nurses in the community — a vital role celebrated and acknowledged globally on International Nurses Day. From left are Hauora Tairawhiti nurses Courtney Tietjens, Kim Te Purei, Janine Brown, Kaa Te Mihi Harrison, Sophia Stuart and Sue Cranston. Picture supplied