Find your Reps
Primary Health Representative
I began working as a Nurse Practitioner in 2013 and currently work in primary health care for Hokianga Health (a Maori Provider) in the remote north-west of the North Island.
Having started work in rural practice in 2000, I have gained experience in a number of positions including working as an inpatient RN on small acute ward; rural practice nursing and community nursing.
Regionally I am a member of the Primary Options Programme Northland group and Manaaki Manawa Heart Care Clinical Governance Group. I am also involved in a new rural research project, focused on the impact of introducing a haematology analyser at a rural hospital. I believe we need to work collectively to inspire future growth of this particular area of specialist nursing.
I undertook my SEN and Registered Mental Nurse training at Whittingham hospital near Preston in Lancashire (UK) in the early 80’s and 90’s and subsequently worked in a range of different mental health settings and young disabled units throughout England. Then, in 2000 whilst managing the Town & County hospital in Wick, I undertook the conversion course over two years with the University of Stirling to become a Registered General Nurse. For my last three years in the UK, I was the cardiac rehab nurse for Caithness and undertook the Diploma in coronary heart disease prevention, as well as qualifying as a nurse prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of the UK.
Shortly after emigrating to New Zealand with my family, I completed further study on a distance-learning basis with the University of Stirling and completed a Bachelor of Nursing qualification. During my first seven years in this country, I have worked in a variety of primary healthcare settings including general practice, department of corrections and providing professional resuscitation education through the Northern Rural General Practice Consortium having qualified as a New Zealand Resuscitation Council level 6 instructor. I have continued my education journey over the last 15 years and have gained the Post-graduate Diploma in advanced nursing (with merit) from the University of Auckland and subsequently my Master of Nursing qualification from Massey University. For the last seven years I have worked as a nursing tutor for Northtec in Whangarei and have a key responsibility for students in the mid and far north. I have a strong professional interest in patient assessment, pharmacology and palliative care nursing. I volunteer my services with Fire and Emergency New Zealand in our small village and regularly attend a range of calls. I am looking forward to taking on the responsibility for teaching under-graduate pharmacology in the New Year and continuing to develop the service that I provide to nursing students in the mid and far north.
Hospital Services Manager
Secondary Services Representative
I live in the Hokianga, in rural North Island. I am currently employed at Hokianga Health as the Hospital Services Manager for our small rural hospital. My roles include overseeing the 24/7 accident and emergency, acute inpatients, and residential care services.
My background is in emergency care and midwifery across both primary and secondary care.
At an organisational level I am a member of the executive team and co-ordinate internal meetings and ongoing professional development for staff. I am also currently the chairperson for the South Hokianga St John- an endangered service in the current climate.
With regards to rural nursing my interests are in developing standardised clinical guidelines and standing orders for safe, effective use in rural New Zealand. In addition to this I am supportive of further work and resources to improve easily accessible professional development options for rural nurses.
Rural Nurses network 2019
Wairoa, Hawkes Bay
Ko Takitimu toku waka
Ko Moumoukai toku maunga
Ko Nuhaka toku awa
Ko Ngati Rakaipaaka, Rongomaiwahine, Ngati Kahungunu, Whakatohea o nga iwi,no reira
tena koutou, tena koutou katoa
Sonya is currently in an Acting role as a Manager for Wairoa Hospital and Health Centre stepping aside from Clinical Nurse Manager at HBDHB Wairoa site.
Sonya is passionate about Maori health, Rural advancement and the Nursing voice to improve practice and reduce inequalities for Maori.
Sonya joined Rural Nurses NZ in April 2019 to contribute Maori voice at the table and look at ways Nursing on the North Islands East coast can take learnings from this national network.
Deb Bailey Lawson
Ngakawau, West Coast
Deb Bailey Lawson transplanted from the US in 2002. She has worked in rural primary healthcare starting in 2007, moving out from her undergraduate degree in 2005 to a rural placement as a Practice Nurse in Reefton, West Coast South Island.
She has always enjoyed working in rural places and working amongst rural people. She completed her Masters of Nursing – clinical, Primary Care in 2016, within the Nurse Practitioner pathway set out by NCNZ. While the 20016 Kaikoura Earthquake caused a bit of personal upheaval for a time, she has now returned to the West Coast landing a job as a Rural Nurse Specialist in Ngakawau. She is married to a wonderful guy named Chris and is the proud Grandmother of 6 grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, running, gardening and appreciating God’s creations.
Education/ Academic Representative
University of Otago (Christchurch)
Since graduating as a RComp.N in 1992 I have worked in a variety of clinical settings including the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board, During this time I gained significant experience working in rural settings including a dual role as an Ambulance Officer/Registered Nurse in a busy Accident and Emergency Department and After Hours General Practitioner Service. For six of these years I was also employed part-time at the Hospital’s Alcohol and Drug Outpatient Clinic as a Registered Nurse/Counsellor. These positions provided me with extensive experience of the challenges specific to rural nursing due to wide geographical regions, a dispersed population often under serviced with health resources.
In 2009 I joined the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies at the University of Otago, Christchurch and the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch from 2006 -2016. I have a special research interest in the rural nursing workforce, hence my keenness to contribute to the Rural Nurses New Zealand working party. I am currently a member of the Rural Health Plan Working Group for the future development of rural health, Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago.
Rhonda Johnson: Chairperson
Secondary Services Representative
Central Otago / Dunstan
I have been immersed in rural nursing since 2002 and held the role of Charge Nurse at Dunstan Hospital for a total of 11 years until 2017. I moved into a Clinical Health Planning role at the end of 2017 assisting with rural and urban facility developments in NZ and Australia. I love the diversity and challenge that rurality brings and I am committed to supporting nurses and guiding professional practice in our unique context. I completed my PG Dip through the Rural Institute of Health and Auckland University in 2008 and am working toward a Masters. I would like to see greater connections amongst rural nurses in NZ, particularly for those working in isolation as well as a career pathway that supports the diversity of the rural nurse role. I am currently on the Rural Hospital Network Executive and Rural General Practice Network board.
Hospital Services Manager
Secondary Services Representative
I live in Central Otago and work at Dunstan Hospital in the historic town of Clyde. As Director of Nursing I oversee nursing practice in our 24 bed inpatient ward which includes HDU and a non walk-in ED. I also manage the nursing teams in Outpatients, Chemotherapy, District Nursing from Dunstan Hospital and our Wanaka base plus the specialist nurses who work in the hospital and the community.
My background is in neonatal intensive care and in nursing leadership roles. I am a member of the Southern DHB Alliance Leadership Team, and am an executive member of the Rural Hospital Network. I have been on the organising committee of the National Rural Health conference for the past 5 years.
The misconceptions about the work of rural hospital nurses is what initially prompted me to champion rural nurses. These amazing health professionals work to the top of scope, dealing with challenges in isolation that their urban counterparts would never encounter. It is time rural nursing is recognised nationally, academically and professionally and Rural Nurses NZ provides an avenue to achieve this goal.
Emma Dillon: Secretary
Rural Nurse Specialist
I am currently employed by the Southern DHB to work as a Rural Nurse Specialist on Stewart Island, and in Tokanui (Catlin’s). The main part of my job, which is Stewart Island based, is to provide health care to a base residency of approximately 400 people (plus tourists and the 12 cruise ships that dock and tender into the island over summer bringing up to 3000 extra people). This job includes PRIME a role as well as district, palliative, after-hours, and running a daily drop-in clinic. My rural nursing career started just over three years ago in Colville – a small village 30 mins north of Coromandel town. I was born and raised on the south coast of Southland, and graduated with my Bachelor of Nursing from CPIT in Christchurch in 2010. I have a PgDip endorsed in Rural Nursing from the University of Otago, and am now working towards a Clinical Masters in Nursing from the University of Auckland, with an aim of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.