Chief nurse departs busy role

December 1, 2020

One “silver lining” from COVID-19 was seeing nurses step up to lead the country’s response in areas such as personal protective equipment (PPE), contact-tracing and infection prevention and control (IPC), departing chief nurse Margareth Broodkoorn told Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.

“Nursing has responded and our voice has been significant and held the sector in good stead.”

Broodkoorn is leaving early in 2021 to take up a chief executive role at Hauora Hokianga, a Māori health provider in Northland, where she lives.

A restorative justice process for hundreds affected by surgical mesh injuries in 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, had pushed aside many of her hoped-for priorities, she said. Hearing the mesh stories was “very raw”, but she was glad action was now being taken.

Broodkoorn was also “really proud” of the work being done by the National Nursing Leaders group, a strategic collective of nursing leaders of which she was a part, and which had developed a bicultural co-leadership model. “They are the pinnacle of our nursing groups and every one of those members are now bringing their Treaty partners to the table, which is really growing our Māori nursing leadership in Aotearoa.”

Broodkoorn had been looking forward to 2020, as she was expecting her first grandchild and it was the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. But “the reality soon changed – to a different place, a different space, a different world”.

“It was one of the busiest and hardest times of my life,” said Broodkoorn, who worked from home to resolve issues about PPE and IPC guidelines. A national nursing strategy aligning with Māori health action plan Whakamaua was almost ready.