Just a handful of years after finishing high school Olivia Sanders is living her dream, working as a paediatric nurse in Ward 22 at Christchurch Hospital.
Olivia graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury) in 2012, making her the fourth generation of her family to become a nurse. "It was always expected that I would do something different but I couldn't imagine doing anything else," she says.
Olivia believes she learned from "the best" at CPIT and was taught what nursing really involves. She responded well to the teaching style, finding that it catered to many different learning approaches. "In lectures there would be a slide outlining a process with bullet points, then the next slide would show the same process but with a diagram. I also loved the tutors' open door policy which meant I could always ask those questions that I never got a chance to ask in class."
Olivia made many friends at CPIT during her three-year degree programme. "I remember on our very first day the tutors said that we were sitting beside people who may become some of our best friends. This turned out to be completely true for me. I was so lucky with all the amazing people I met through my training.
Olivia's first taste of paediatric nursing came about through one of her clinical placements which are a major component of our Bachelor of Nursing programme. "I got to experience so many different areas of nursing through placements, which allowed me to discover my passion for paediatrics."
After graduating Olivia worked as a public health nurse - a role she loved - but when a job came up in the children's ward at Christchurch hospital she jumped at the opportunity. She applied, was successful and started in April 2014.
"The ward caters for children up to 16 years old and any number of medical issues," she explains. "We also work with babies under one year old who are having surgery. It was a huge change going from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm, to shift work but it's worth every second. I feel very lucky to be a Ward 22 nurse. This is exactly where I wanted to work and I absolutely love it."