Graduate Nurse, Waitemata District Health Board
Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing Practice student
Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
Nursing was the perfect fit for her, says Ashleigh Bennett who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) and is now a graduate nurse at the Waitemata District Health Board.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping others, and I have a deep appreciation for all my previous interactions with nurses in the healthcare system. Nurses demonstrate compassion, caring, kindness, trust and empathy, which are values that I strive to demonstrate every day.
“While it took me a little while to realise this was the direction I should take, my encounters with nurses eventually inspired me to pursue this career path. I was living in Sydney at the time but took a leap of faith and returned back to New Zealand to study nursing. I had looked at countless universities and institutions in Sydney and New Zealand, and AUT stood out to me because it’s one of New Zealand's top nursing educators, has a variety of placement opportunities, smaller class sizes and excellent Māori support services.”
Currently honing her skills as graduate nurse, Ashleigh already has a good idea what area of nursing she wants to specialise in in the future.
“I’d love to eventually work with women; whether working with them in an in-patient capacity or furthering my studies and doing a midwifery degree. The options are unlimited. I also recognise the importance of being a Māori nurse in the healthcare system today. I know I can make a significant contribution to my community and people.”
She would highly recommend AUT’s nursing degree to other students, Ashleigh says.
“AUT truly sets students up for clinical excellence. The clinical environments and settings that are on offer are endless, and having that chance to be hands-on is what drew me to the nursing programme.
“I’ve enjoyed the different course content, engaging with the academic staff and clinical educators, meeting peers, and experiencing different clinical environments. The most enjoyable part of my studies would have to be being fully immersed in the whānau room on the North Campus at AUT. This is where I met some amazing Māori tauira and liaison staff who helped me navigate my journey as a Māori undergraduate student.”
As part of the Waitemata District Health Board’s scholarship programme, she has also enjoyed being able to return to AUT to further her studies with a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing Practice.
“The postgraduate study pathway has always been something I’ve wanted to continue with. The New Entrance to Practice programme at the Waitemata District Health Board has enabled me to experience that journey with the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing Practice while staying with AUT.”
Advice for other students
Ashleigh has some great advice for other students thinking about university study.
“My advice is to always be kind to yourself. Throughout this journey it can be hard to not get so consumed in your studies or become emotional. Take time out for yourself, reach out to your whānau or peers for support, and look after all aspects of your Te Whare Tapa Wha.
“When on clinical placement, be a team player and take any and all opportunities to learn new things that can add to your skillset. Don’t beat yourself up if you get something wrong or fail. See it as an opportunity to improve and grow on your knowledge base. As a friend of mine once said to me, ‘Always aim for an A+, even if you don’t make it, you aimed for it from the beginning’.”
Find good friends who will support you throughout university, she adds.
“Find yourself an amazing group of friends who will eventually become your whānau and role models throughout your journey. I think it’s fundamentally important to find your group. They will understand your struggles, celebrate and understand your triumphs, be that shoulder you lean on and be your experts when seeking advice on a course or a clinical experience. It really does make a difference and I’m extremely grateful for my nursing whānau.”