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Waikato nursing star off to Mexico to address our ageing society’s healthcare needs

Kathryn Van Der Maas

Passionate about healthcare, travel and philanthropy Waikato DHB registered nurse, Kathryn Van Der Maas, has already completed two volunteer trips, one in Samoa teaching deaf children sign language, and three weeks nursing in Vanuatu, and now at the ripe age of 23 she’s off to Mexico.

Kathryn along with two other New Zealander representatives and approximately 100 international attendees will participate in the Universitas 21 Conference, ‘A Global Perspective on Ageing Societies’, in Te de Monterrey in Mexico, 11-16 July.

“Population ageing is arguably the single most influential factor that will face the New Zealand Healthcare sector in the next 10 to 20 years,” says Kathryn.

“I’m really excited about attending Universitas 21. The conference has participates from all industries, not just healthcare, and I’m hoping to bring back valuable learnings from all corners of the world about how to influence positive change in an ageing society of healthcare needs.”

Kathryn is in her first year of the Waikato DHB / University of Auckland’s Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) programme.

Her research topic seeks to address the factors that influence trauma patient’s care transitions from specialty surgical wards at Waikato Hospital to regional domicile hospitals.

With multiple services involved to address trauma patients complex physical and psychological needs the care transition needs to be a comprehensive, collaborative process and Katheryn will be taking a holistic view at how these affect the quality of their care continuation.

“I’ve always been interested in community healthcare and empowering patients to succeed with their recovery plans when they leave the hospital.

“Transition for trauma patients can be a time of turmoil and vulnerability in their journey, in particular older persons.

“With a higher proportion of the population over 65, and as tertiary acute hospital service needs continue to increase, healthcare delivery has to be challenged to meet these needs closer to home.

“My Honours study will address all transition factors and opinions from health professionals, patients, and family members.

“The opportunity to network in Mexico and widen my research will strengthen my report findings and insights for the Waikato DHB.”

The driving force behind Waikato’s involvement in the Honour’s programme and Director of Nursing & Midwifery, Sue Hayward said choosing Kathryn to be an Honour’s student and supporting her to attend the Mexico conference was an opportunity for her as an individual and us as a DHB that we could not pass on.

“We need to foster and grow exceptional talent like Kathryn.

“Her commitment and will to support patient journeys and Waikato DHB’s need to gather fresh insightful information on this research topic is critical to help us improve our quality of care in and out of the hospital to create a more sustainable workforce.

“Waikato DHB is committed to continuous development and investing in young stars to becoming specialists in their field.”

About the Waikato DHB / University of Auckland Nursing (Honours) Programme

Now in its fourth year, Waikato DHB / University of Auckland Honours Programme mentors and supports high achieving students with leadership potential.

Only four DHBs: Waikato, Counties, Bay of Plenty, and Auckland are involved in the Honours programme.

The programme supports academically excellent (minimum GPA 8.0) and clinically highly competent young registered nurses to participate in an Honours programme that not only prepares students for doctoral study but also engages them in leadership preparation.

To date, around 75 percent of graduates continue to doctorate level.

The programme only accepts four students a year from the Waikato DHB.

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