First students of Ara/UC health qualification to graduate

News News & events

12 Sep 2016

Eleanor Stronach has a big week coming. Today she begins a graduate nursing programme as an employee at Christchurch Hospital Intensive Care Unit and on Friday she receives her qualification with the first graduates of the combined Bachelor of Nursing and Masters of Health Science at the Ara Spring Graduation ceremony on 16 September, 2pm, at Horncastle Arena.

The combined qualification was introduced by Ara Institute of Canterbury and the University of Canterbury (UC) so that graduates with a health-related degree could gain two further qualifications in just two years. 

“When I was six months into the Bachelor of Nursing at Ara I got a letter introducing a new combined qualification, because I had a biomedical degree already,” Stronach said. “It wasn’t going to add any extra time to my studies and I would earn a Masters qualification as well, so it was worth doing.”

Caption: Nurse Eleanor Stronach, who graduates this Friday with a combined Bachelor of Nursing and a Masters in Health Science, is loving her work in the Intensive Care ward.

She studied at both institutes, completing most of the theory at UC and practical work at the Clinical Placement Units at Ara.

“Health is something I always wanted to do. I was always into science and biology. I decided on nursing because I love that side of it, talking to people, as well as the science.”

During work placements she has completed as part of her nursing programme, Stronach has experienced nursing in the community, mental health, aged care and hospital sectors. But the Emergency Department holds a special interest.

“I would love to stay on the emergency ward. My goal is to have a couple of years working, because I have been a student for quite a while now. I want to consolidate my skills and then see where I want to go next.”

All 13 students who finished the new combined qualification passed the Nursing Council registration exams and 11 have been offered places on graduates programmes offered by Canterbury District Health Boards (CDHB). (One student did not apply and one was not successful but is likely to be offered a place in the future).

CDHB graduate programme, NetP, is designed to support newly qualified Registered Nurses in their first year of practice, to become competent, confident and professional members of the health care sector. The focus of the programme is to weave previous knowledge and theory into clinical practice whilst working in a supportive environment and integrating positively into the nursing profession.

Fittingly for the nursing graduates, guest speaker at the ceremony is David Meates, Chief Executive of the Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards and a leader of transformational change.  In 2011 David was awarded the highest standing award by the NZ Medical Association for exemplary leadership during the devastating earthquakes in Canterbury and in 2014 he was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to health.

The Spring Graduation will celebrate the success of 387 graduates in person, 176 receiving a degree as their main qualification, 164 receiving a diploma or graduate diploma, and 47 attending to receive their certificate qualification.

Another 589 students will graduate in absentia or at the Autumn Graduation ceremony next year.

Ara Graduations can be watched live:

Read more: Combined qualification launched: