Sun, Dec 17, 2023 10:00 AM

A new role for Ruth


Paula Hulburt

Awatere has a new parish nurse ready to help some of the most isolated people in the rural community she has always considered home.

From a small island off the West Coast of Scotland to the rolling hills and understated grandeur of the Awatere, District Nurse Ruth Cameron is no stranger to the region.

Born and bred in the region, and back on the family farm, Ruth is taking over the reins from Rachael Westenra as Awatere parish nurse.

The experienced Registered Nurse hopes to also make a positive contribution to the community she grew up in, and the people she cares for.

But she says she knows she has big shoes to fill as Rachael leaves the role she has had for 10 years.

The pair are currently job sharing as Ruth prepares to go solo in the New Year.

“There’s a handover period to the end of the month and I start in the New Year. Rachael is a very hard act to follow.

“Everyone’s been very welcoming but I’m sure they will miss her heaps.”

Working part time for Te Whatu Ora as a District Nurse, Ruth, who trained in Nelson, says when the job came up, she gave her decision to apply a lot of thought.

Ultimately, she knew she wanted to help and ensure the vital community role continued,

“It’s very important to have that back up, an extra person who can say ‘yes, you need to see a GP,’ the loss of such a role would have been a bad thing.

“It’s a privilege to be in someone’s home.”

The role is funded by the Awatere Christian Joint Venture (ACJV) which came about after the merging of the Anglican and Presbyterian churches of the area in 1992.

Anyone in the community aged 65 years plus can access help if they need it, Ruth stresses.

“It’s about advocacy, getting people the services they are entitled to and letting them know what’s available. Sometimes that’s become quite hard, it could be easier.

“Patients are different [in the community], they are more relaxed and show more of themselves when they’re not in hospital.

“District Nursing is very task orientated and I’m really looking forward to this role as it’s more social.”

The Awatere parish nurse has a large geographic area to cover, stretching from Molesworth to Dashwood and from Seddon to Kekerengu. Photo: Thaddeus Roan.

With experience in medical, surgical, cardiac, dialysis and neurology, Ruth has worked across almost all nursing specialties.

Following her Scottish husband to his home isle of Lismore, she was a District Nurse in the Highland town of Fort William on the mainland.

Returning to Marlborough to care for her parents, Ruth says she is happy to be back in the region where she was born.

Geographically, her role spans from Molesworth to Dashwood and from Seddon to Kekerengu.

It is a big role but one she believes is a good fit with district nursing.

“The two roles should work well together,” she says.

“There might be a patient with a wound that’s healed and their being discharged but might need some extra help.

“I’m there to help.”

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