"Do not imitate, do not duplicate but create and shape your own practice with every interaction you encounter."
That was the advice Allison Kandimba’s preceptor gave her at the start of her nursing career – and it stuck.
"My preceptor also said to take every opportunity to mould yourself in the nurse you want to be," says the Clinical Nurse Manager at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Mental Health Inpatient Services.
“For me, nursing is very much an apprenticeship,” Miss Kandimba says.
It was a former manager who suggested Miss Kandimba study nursing. Miss Kandimba was 27 at the time, and working as a Senior Caregiver at Christchurch’s St John of God Hospital.
“One day she said: ‘You would make a pretty good nurse’,” Miss Kandimba says.
“She helped me apply to go to Invercargill to study nursing, and the rest was history.”
Miss Kandimba says the best part about nursing is making a difference to people.
“For me, it’s the little things.
“It’s really the impact that, as nurses, you have over someone that’s quite vulnerable; somebody who has had a lot thrown at them.
“It’s about making someone’s day. It’s the thank you, it’s the high five or the wave after the job is done.
“It’s about building that trust from the beginning, because a lot of whai ora are quite scared when they first come in, so it’s about saying, ‘Right, now all that matters is your health, what can I do to make things better?’”
As Clinical Nurse Manager, Miss Kandimba does a lot of operational duties, such as: dealing with complaints, staffing issues, patient flow, liaising with the medical administrator regarding doctors, interacting with the group leadership team regarding adult health medical services, approving prescriptions for the day to day management of the ward, disciplinary actions, and much more.
However, she always finds time to spend with patients.
“Sometimes it’s having lunch with them, or I will try to find some time during the week to just sit in the ward and have a general catch up.”
“My whole core is patient interactions.”