Michelle Rodda becomes Hawke’s Bay’s first Nurse Practitioner in Palliative Care

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Paige Kaye


Michelle Rodda was one of the first students to come out with a Bachelor of Nursing from Manawatu Polytechnic, now Ucol 22 years ago, prior to which nurses were solely hospital trained. She is now the only palliative care Nurse Practitioner in Hawke’s Bay, something that she has been working on for the past two years with the support of her team at Cranford Hospice.

Nurse Practitioners are advanced nursing roles which requires significant experience, a Master’s degree, completion of a portfolio and a comprehensive interview process to pass, before being registered with Nursing Council.

“Becoming a Nurse Practitioner is about the completeness,” Michelle says, “you can see someone, diagnose them, prescribe the right drugs and follow up their care.”

For Cranford Hospice, the benefits are obvious. Michelle can sit both in the medical and nursing teams. Having a Nurse Practitioner means we can reach more people, especially in our rural communities including Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa.

“Geographically isolated areas still need really good palliative care and being a Nurse Practitioner means I’m able to offer advice and support in a really practical and helpful way.”

Michelle can go out and visit a patient who needs a medical review, as well as being able to put a foot in the nursing role where needed.  At any one time, Cranford cares for around 200 people in both the community and in their inpatient unit, so having someone who can fit into both worlds supporting patients is invaluable to providing quality end of life care.

Our Clinical Services Manager Karen Franklin says, “Michelle is an inspiration to other nurses who are thinking about advancing their practice.  With a lot of hard work, determination and a team around you, your dream can be a reality.”

Michelle is a role model and as the Community Nursing Team Leader at Cranford Hospice, she’s sharing her knowledge with the team as it grows, “I definitely think there are nurses here who will be Nurse Practitioners of the future and that’s really exciting. But not every nurse is going to become a Nurse Practitioner, and not everyone has to be, because at the end of the day all you want are nurses who are really capable, caring and compassionate.”

As New Zealand’s population ages, hospices face an increasing number of referrals for their services. Last year, across the country hospices provided care and support to 1 in 3 people who died in New Zealand, a total of more than 19,000 people and their families.

Developing and nurturing the Nurse Practitioner pathway is one of the ways that Cranford Hospice is making sure that people who are dying and their family and whānau can receive quality of end of life care.