Adjusting to New Zealand
Geoffrey Harvey and Kerry Davis have helped Mercy Hospital integrate internationally qualified nurses.
Mercy Hospital had little prior experience with Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQNs) when they employed six at once due to opening a new day stay facility. Mercy was conscious that successful integration of these new staff into the Mercy Hospital community would be critical for patients, for the nurses themselves, and for their colleagues.
Kerry Davis, the Clinical Nurse Educator at Mercy Hospital and a lecturer in our School of Nursing, developed an action plan with Geoffrey Harvey, a Senior Lecturer who runs Otago Polytechnic's Competency Assessment Programme for overseas registered nurses to qualify to practice in New Zealand. They investigated what best practice would look like, for social, cultural, and professional integration. From this they developed a tailored orientation programme for the IQNs. The two year acculturation process which Kerry and Geoffrey are jointly facilitating includes social gatherings, informal reviews, continuing education, and linking with local support networks. Implementation also included helping preceptors and colleagues at Mercy Hospital to understand the issues and how they could provide a supportive environment.
Twelve months into the integration process Mercy Hospital is pleased that 100% of the IQNs are still employed and marked this milestone by presenting a card to each of them. The successful process has been presented to the 2017 Australasian Nurse Educators Conference (where it was voted to be the Best Poster), and also has relevance to the integration of other overseas qualified professionals to New Zealand life and practice.
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Image credit: Mercy Hospital, used with permission