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Monina Hernandez, the chair of the Filipino Nurses Association of New Zealand, was appointed last month by the Health Minister Dr David Clark as a health practitioner member of the Council along with two new lay Council members.

The Massey University school of nursing lecturer and public health advocate says she wants to continue her advocacy work within the Council – but this time as a patient advocate.

“With my clinical work as a nurse specialist, active health advocacy in the community and a lecturer, I hope to work hard in advocating for the safety of the underserved New Zealand public in this role,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez came to New Zealand in late 2009 after being directly recruited from the Philippines by Counties Manukau District Health Board from her job as a lecturer for her alma mater, the University of Philippines’ College of Nursing. She underwent a CAP course before starting work at Middlemore Hospital where she worked in a high-risk post-partum ward and briefly in neonatal intensive care before coming a clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention and control – a role she held until completing her MNurs (Hons) degree in 2016 and moving to her current job at Massey’s Albany campus.

Philippine-trained nurses are the fastest growing part of the Kiwi registered nurse workforce moving from six per cent of the RN workforce in 2015 to eight per cent in 2017. The Philippines has been the predominant source of internationally qualified nurses (IQNs) in recent years. About 25 per cent of  New Zealand about 50,000 practising RNs are IQNs and Philippine-trained nurses make up 30 per cent (4,018) of those followed by 29 per cent (3,825) UK-trained and 18 per cent (2,370) trained in India and Sri Lanka.

The nine member Nursing Council has three elected health practitioner positions, three minister-appointed health practitioners and three minister-appointed lay members.

The two new lay members appointed to the council were Joanne Hewlett and Iosefa P.Tiata (Anesi Sale). The Minister also re-appointed Dr Kathy Holloway as a health practitioner member.

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