A nurse practitioner’s dedication to building the NP profession in New Zealand was honoured with a special greenstone (pounamu) at the Nurse Practitioners New Zealand conference.

Dr Michal Boyd – an American-trained NP specialising in the care of older adults who was registered as the country’s 7th NP in 2003 – is a former chair of NPNZ and an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland’s School of Nursing and Department of Geriatric Medicine.

Current NPNZ chair Mark Baldwin presented the award to mark Boyd’s tireless service to the NP profession at a special conference dinner last week in Blenheim attended by 100 NPs.

Baldwin said the award was to celebrate Boyd’s major contribution to the NP profession.  He said he first met Boyd in late 2013 when she made her successful pitch to gain funding for the dedicated Nurse Practitioner Training Programme (NPTP).

“We all know how successful that has become in producing nurse practitioners and the evidence from that programme Michal presented to the ICN/APN conference in Rotterdam last year,” he said.

Witnessing the nurses providing home-based hospice care for her grandmother prompted Boyd, who had a master’s degree in physiology, to retrain as a nurse and work with the elderly. She gained a clinical doctorate in nursing at the University of Colorado and worked as an NP in older adult care and academic before becoming intrigued about the New Zealand NP model. She shifted here in 2002 and a year later gained registration as New Zealand’s seventh NP and the first in older adult care.

Boyd soon found out that the New Zealand model had its strengths but the first NPs were pioneers for not only a new training and registration model but also a new model of care “within a health care system that has not always been ready for a new ways of providing care”.

She joined colleagues in working tirelessly to promote the NP role, get support for a dedicated training programme and remove legislative and regulatory barriers to NPs meeting the full potential of the role.  She was a long-term chair of NPNZ until handing over in 2013 to Baldwin’s immediate predecessor, Jane Jeffcoat.

“Jane told me that Michal made NPNZ more proactive, giving direction and making the executive more politically astute,” Baldwin said at the award dinner. “Michal worked tirelessly on the response to the Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Act, the omnibus bill that went on to be the eight acts that so recently came into force.  Both myself and Jane were struck by the eloquent and comprehensive way Michal answered the queries and concerns of the Health Select Committee that day in October 2015, especially around the Burials and Cremations Act.”

At the same time as her lobbying for the profession she has continued to work with older people as an NP practising in residential aged care facilities and has led or been involved in number of  aged care initiatives and major research projects.

The NPNZ award was commissioned from a West Coast carver and is inspired by the NPNZ logo which was a design originally created by Boyd’s niece. The award was made from Marsden flower pounamu (greenstone) which represents all types of greenstone in New Zealand.

“This is truly fitting as Michal’s dedication to improvement in NP training and capability is reflected across all places in the New Zealand health workforce,” said NPNZ executive member Di Williams.

Williams said that, in the traditional way, all NPs who wanted their energy to warm and endorse the stone had a chance to hold the award carving for a time during the conference dinner.

Boyd’s research and clinical roles include being primary investigator for the ‘End of life with dementia’ study funded by the National Science Challenge: Ageing Well stream and co-investigator for the Health Research Council funded ‘Aged Residential Care Healthcare Utilisation Study (ARCHUS)’ and ‘Aged Residential Care Implementation Project (ARCHIP)’.

As Clinical Leader for Waitemata DHB Community Services for Older Adults in 2007 she implemented the “Residential Aged Care Integration Programme, which showed a dramatic decrease in hospital admissions for the intervention group.  She was also co-principal investigator for the Auckland OPAL study examining changes in disability levels of aged care residents over twenty years.

She was instrumental in the development of the Acute Intervention Respiratory Service (AIRS), the Residential Aged Care Integration Programme and the BRIGHT brief screening tool to identify older people at risk.

Boyd is also a co-director of Equinox Health Limited, the first Director of Nurse Practitioners at Third age health; clinical lead for the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s aged residential care programme;  a Member of Te Arai research group looking at Palliative Care & End of Life Research; on the board of ‘Dementia Auckland’; winner of the Elsevier International Journal of Nursing Studies’ Reviewer Excellence Award in 2017; was co-editor of the ‘Care home Handbook’ and has authored and co-authored numerous research journal articles.

Banner: NPNZ greenstone carving presented to Dr Michal Boyd for her services to the NP profession

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