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Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist, Lisa Smith is the only Māori Nurse Prescriber in Tairāwhiti, and a very good one at that.
Lisa, who is of Ngāti Kahungunu, Whakatohea and Ngati Hāua descent, grew up in Manutuke and is passionate about Tairāwhiti.
Lisa has been working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Hauora Tairāwhiti for six years and before that, she was a practice nurse at City Medical. “I was doing nurse lead clinics for diabetes and I believe the interaction with the people with diabetes is what started my journey to become a Nurse Prescriber.”
It was Lisa’s dream to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist and becoming a Nurse Prescriber has been the cherry on top. “I have worked extremely hard to be where I am today. It was a huge achievement, especially being the first Māori Nurse Prescriber in Tairāwhiti.
“As a diabetes Nurse Prescriber, I can do a consultation, prescribe the medication the person needs and follow up with them, all of which won’t cost them as it saves them from visiting their doctor. It is a huge deal as it saves the people in our community money and time. I am all about equity and providing more opportunities to those who need it.”
In Tairāwhiti diabetes is a big problem. “The comorbidities of diabetes has an impact on diseases such as heart disease and renal disease. Some people with cancer have diabetes, there is gestational diabetes and of course paediatric diabetes, it is a big disease with a lot of complications.”
Lisa mentioned that working within Tui te ora has allowed her upskilling and professional development a lot easier with the supportive environment and nature of her team and managers.
Lisa said the continuing education that is required for being a nurse has allowed her to learn and grow constantly. “When you become a Nurse Prescriber you have to be able to meet a lot of standards as you have to keep people safe and understand the effects of the medication we prescribe.”
Lisa really enjoys helping people on their journey to living a better lifestyle even with diabetes. “I often sound like a broken record, giving out the same messages about healthy eating, the importance of exercise, taking medication and managing weight, but it is all so true. I think as a community we have to learn to work well together so we can improve the health of our people and reduce the inequity gap.”