CPIT celebrates 40 years of nursing

News News & events

26 Nov 2013

The most senior nurse in New Zealand is one of many prestigious graduates from CPIT’s pioneer nursing programme, which will this week celebrate four decades as a leader in nursing education.

To mark the historic event, CPIT is holding an exhibition looking at 40 years of nursing at the institution as well as an open day on Friday where the public can have the opportunity to see the nursing teaching facilities.

In 1973, CPIT was chosen as one of two institutes to launch a pilot programme for a comprehensive diploma in nursing after a report recommended nursing education take place in institutions rather than hospitals.

Since the opening year in 1973, 4202 registered nurses and 212 enrolled nurses have graduated from CPIT.

One of those is New Zealand Chief Nurse Dr Jane O’Malley, who graduated from the first class of 1973 and will be among those attending this week’s events.

"I didn't know it at the time, but in 1973 I was about to embark on a truly rewarding journey. I think that will be just as true for the graduates of 2013 and beyond,” O’Malley says.

“Nurses are vital in caring for the health of our country and I'm thrilled to be coming home to mark 40 years of CPIT launching so many other careers."

Other notable graduates from the CPIT course include former CDHB chief executive, Jean O’Callaghan, Pegasus Health Director of Nursing, Shelley Frost, and CDHB Nursing Director of Older Persons Health, Kate Gibb.

CPIT head of nursing Dr Cathy Andrew said CPIT had continually played a leading role in nursing in New Zealand.

“As well as being one of the first nursing institutions, we are one of the biggest schools for teaching nursing,” she says.

“Over the last forty years we have always been if not the initiator, an early adaptor, of some of the major changes taking place in nursing education.”

CPIT was one of the first to offer Enrolled Nursing as a course, introduced Bachelors of Nursing in the 1990s and did pioneering work in cultural safety.

40 years of nursing 

Andrew believed it was important to reflect on the last forty years.

“Many people still believe that studying nursing in an educational institute rather than a hospital is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s good that people know we have actually had 40 years of teaching and producing high quality graduates.”

Andrew said the course had proved a huge success over the last four decades, with a near 100 per cent pass rate for the state final examinations.

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) executive director of nursing Mary Gordon says the event is a “milestone in nursing history for Canterbury”.

“When celebrating 40 years of nursing at CPIT we are celebrating a major event in New Zealand’s nursing history,” she says.

“The change from the apprenticeship model of training nurses within the hospital setting as employees to one of it being an education programme whereby individuals were students and were not relied on to be the manpower for the hospitals.”

Over the last 40 years nursing had evolved, with changes to training, technology and the way nurses practised.

“The one area that remains the same is that nurses remain the one group of health professional with a wide broad scope of practice and care and compassion remain at the essence of nurses’ work,” Gordon says.

“CPIT’s nursing department is very aligned to clinical practice and this is evident in their way of working with health providers to ensure that the students are well prepared for their nursing career.”

Looking forward to the future, Andrew says CPIT will continue to have a strong presence in nursing in Christchurch.

“We are looking to be involved in the new health precinct in the city and will continue to work hard to be a leader in our industry.”

View the exhibition in the Rakaia Centre atrium from Wednesday November 27. The open day for Department of Nursing is Friday November 29 from 2pm until 5pm at the N Block on Madras St Campus.

View historical exhibits, explore CPIT’s high tech clinical practice unit, speak with students and staff and discover what the next 40 years of nursing at CPIT might look like.