International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, and for Ryman the fact that nurses sometimes migrate from another country to take their careers to the next level in our retirement villages is a real bonus.
The Day is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. She was born in Italy and known for her nursing near Constantinople during the Crimean war.
Ryman is an internationally-staffed company, given that it operates in both New Zealand and Australia and that both countries are multicultural in their makeup. And our nurses love sharing their stories of how they arrived into the busy world of our villages.
In turn we all really appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by these professional care teams, who are forever in the front line.
Recruitment advisor Ashley O’Brien says Ryman has recently been extra busy recruiting nurses from overseas. From mid-2022 to date, we have recruited 45 overseas nurses from a range of countries, such as Philippines, South Africa, Fiji, UK, Ireland, Singapore, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Qatar with many having arrived in New Zealand... the rest are in the process of relocating,” Ashley says.
“A recent example is six nurses from the Philippines. This was the first time we have recruited nurses and processed all the documentation from our end. This process took over a year for them to arrive in New Zealand. We were so excited for them to finally arrive!”
Amongst those who arrived was Frances Marcelino, a caregiver at Jean Sandel Retirement Village.
Paul Ponce, a Unit Coordinator within the care centre at Charles Brownlow village, has nursed in two countries. Paul says he did further Bachelor of Nursing (international nurse conversion programme) training at Melbourne’s Deakin University, having already been a Registered Nurse in Cebu in his home country of The Philippines.
Paul’s experience at Charles Brownlow, over a couple of years, follows on from nursing related experience in Cebu, then Canada and now Australia. He says it was an advantage to have been at Charles Brownlow since day one, and has been part of the Ryman village developing a good team. “I’ve tried to make sure we communicate. Team work is good, really good in my (dementia) unit and the care centre. It’s a very good culture – we help each other and they care for the residents... when I chat to other staff members I can tell that they care for the residents.
Paul says he'd been away from the unit for a few weeks, and was surprised on his return that one of the residents with dementia was very happy to see him. “When I came back one resident, he just stood up when he saw me and gave me a hug. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Christine Dhariwal, a Registered Nurse at the care centre of Weary Dunlop, says nursing wasn’t always part of her career thoughts though once she started working in the wider sector she was drawn into helping others.
Originally from south-east London, she emigrated to Australia in her early 20s, and with the advice of an Australian immigration officer settled in Melbourne, initially working in jobs including careers-based secretarial work, then in non-emergency ambulances and as a medical courier. She has 'post grad' qualifications in mental health care.
Having trained as an Enrolled then Registered Nurse, she took the chance of a job in the first Ryman village of Weary Dunlop. There were only 18 residents in the care centre when she started within a still being constructed village. “The cranes were all around us building the serviced apartments and other apartments. We watched it go up.”
Since then she’s found her space and loves interacting with the residents. “I like it – it’s like a family, it’s really really good. The carers are good, the staff you work with are good, I’ve seen lots of different people. There are a lot of staff who are there from the early days as well... it’s a good team,” Christine says.
Anthony Wilding Clinical Manager Jeannie Sales says while nurses arriving in New Zealand may have good experience, sometimes that relates to training for nursing in other areas such as intensive care or paediatrics. Developing skills for aged or ‘longterm’ care, rather than in an acute setting, is a further step she says.
Ryman also works with those training as nurses with other institutions. For example, Anthony Wilding is hosting a couple of ‘tech’ students from Wesley Institute of Nursing Education doing their Competency Assessment Programme (CAP), giving them exposure to aged care.
“So before they’re registered, we then put them to work with the caregivers so they get that understanding of what we do and the fact that it’s not an acute setting... and what nurses working in longterm care actually need to be aware of – risks and things like that. That’s not taught in the classroom,” Jeanne says. Back in the day, she trained in an apprentice-style nursing programme, quite different from today.
Her career and nurse training stretches back 50 years and while the care and compassion needed remain the same, some of the educational methods have changed, Jeanne adds.
Jaine Plaza started her nurse training in her home country of The Philippines, and travelled to New Zealand in 2015 to work in various cities including Wellington and Tauranga before coming south with her husband to buy a house and bring up a family. She worked at both Bob Owens and Ngaio Marsh villages before the transition to become a Serviced Apartment Coordinator at Diana Isaac village in Christchurch.
Jaine says early on in her New Zealand work she started as a caregiver before gaining her nursing qualification. She is grateful to Ryman for providing backing to her continued training in optimisation of treatment (including pharmaceutical medicines) for elderly people. “This really helped me with my medications for residents,” she says.
Ashley says she, alongside Abbe King (Operations Recruitment Manager) and Savannah Kemp (Recruitment Advisor) have been supporting recruitment of nurses for New Zealand and Australian villages.