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University of Waikato and Waikato District Health Board develop nursing degree

27 September 2019

Dr Kevin Snee and Professor Neil Quigley
(L-R) Dr Kevin Snee, CEO of Waikato DHB, and Professor Neil Quigley, University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor.

The University of Waikato and Waikato District Health Board announced today that they are working together to develop a Bachelor of Nursing programme.

The announcement comes shortly after the University announced in August that it has established a Bachelor of Health programme which is now taking enrolments for the first semester of 2020.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says, “The opportunity to offer a nursing programme has arisen out of our country’s current shortage of qualified nurses.  

“The University of Waikato has the desire to develop a nursing programme that combines high academic standards with substantial clinical experience.  The programme we are developing will also offer the opportunity for nursing graduates to specialise in caring for patients with mental health and addictions, an area that is currently underserved in other programmes.”

Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee believes it is essential to grow our healthcare workforce.

“Having a nursing programme within the University of Waikato sits well for us and, the university is well-placed to offer a degree that will develop nursing graduates with the right mix of skills to meet the demands peculiar to the Waikato.

“We have many people with high health needs in our communities, and we need to provide more nurses that are culturally competent and can provide healthcare that respects the diverse needs of Māori and people who live in rural areas if we are to reduce health inequities. We need a workforce to cater to those demands which also includes building our Māori healthcare workforce.”

To support the development of its Bachelor of Nursing programme, the University of Waikato has appointed Professor Matthew Parsons as Professor of Gerontology.  He starts his position at University of Waikato on 8 October.

Waikato DHB’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Sue Hayward says, “For me this is a legacy for Waikato DHB to work in partnership with the University of Waikato to create another nursing succession plan that will ensure we have a future nursing workforce that is going to be nimble, responsive to health priorities of our varied sectors of the community, and supportive of individuals to achieve better health outcomes.

“This particular programme, once we have the curriculum developed, will have differences – one being the weaving of psychological health alongside physical health throughout the duration.  A further distinction will be the way we as a DHB will offer clinical experience during the student years,” she says.

Nursing will sit as one of three programme streams in the University of Waikato’s Te Huataki Waiora – School of Health.

“This is an exciting development for the University of Waikato.  Together with our new Bachelor of Health degree and working with our existing partners in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, we are excited about doing our part to develop graduates with the skills required to address the health issues that matter most to our communities,” says Professor Quigley.

Once the University of Waikato and Waikato District Health Board complete the development of the new nursing programme, it will be submitted it to the Nursing Council of New Zealand and the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) for approval.  If approved, enrolments will open later next year for the first semester of 2021.

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