Registered Nurse, North Shore Adult Community Mental Health, Waitemata District Health Board
Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
Her final clinical placement proved to be a lightbulb moment, says nursing alumna Briar Hornell who graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) from AUT in 2020.
“I was working in a mental health community team for my final placement, and this is where I truly found my passion. I knew I was passionate about mental illness but I hadn’t been sure how I could pursue that passion in my career as a nurse. This placement was a standout moment for me and there were definitely fireworks when I realised this could be my career.”
Briar has now fulfilled her dream of working in mental health nursing and loves working as a registered nurse for the Waitemata District Health Board.
“I love the positive impact I can have on someone’s life and their recovery. The job is demanding but so rewarding. What I particularly enjoy about my role is that I’m based in the community, which brings a level of autonomy and means that I can see patients in their own homes. I enjoy working within a holistic framework, and like that my personality can shine through within my practice.
“Working in a multidisciplinary team means that I’m surrounded by colleagues from different disciplines – including social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. That means that I see differing lenses and perspectives, and am constantly learning and being surrounded by the knowledge and expertise from my peers.”
A journey of growth
For Briar, it was always clear that she wanted to work in healthcare.
“I have an interest in people and the human body, so studying nursing felt like the perfect fit. I chose to study at AUT because of how highly recognisable it is overseas, and because it includes a large amount of practical skill building. Another reason I decided to come to AUT is because of its involvement and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. As someone in that community, having a university with an appreciation for diversity and support was an important tick for me.”
Throughout her studies she enjoyed watching her confidence grow, says Briar who received a Kate Edgar Scholarship.
“I enjoyed proving to myself that I can do it. I went into university with some self-doubt, and had a private tutor through my first year of university. From there, I just excelled and have proven to myself that if you put your mind to it you can achieve great things. I really enjoyed seeing my own confidence grow.”
Advice for other students
Briar has some great advice for other students.
“If you put in the time, you’ll be rewarded. You may have times where you want to throw in the towel but hang in there; it’s a very normal feeling. If self-doubt or lack of confidence is stopping you from studying at university level, take the leap of faith. It’ll be worth it, and you can do it. I’ve definitely proven this.”
There are lots of different career paths within nursing, she adds.
“It may take some time to find your career path but when you do it is worth it. That is one of the magical parts of nursing – there are so many options and paths you can take.”