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Published Friday 24 Jul 2020

Christine is the Associate Director of Nursing, Acute Services and Integrated Operations Centre. She joined Hutt Valley DHB during the height of Alert Level 4 and gives us this insight into starting a new job during nationwide upheaval.

“I was feeling like I was running away in the middle of the night. I left Auckland in the middle of level four lockdown so I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to anyone. I drove out of the garage onto empty roads in Auckland to begin my journey south. I arrived in Wellington which was also as deserted as the Auckland I had left.

It felt a little like I could be anywhere. Google maps was my friend as I navigated my first commute to Hutt Hospital.

I was warmly greeted by Hutt's Director of Nursing and her EA on my first day. Seeing familiar faces, having met them when I interviewed for the role, was a lovely introduction to the friendly family at the Hutt.

Starting up my desktop computer for the first time I found I was staring back at myself … there I was on the intranet home page! At first I was bit taken back by the introduction to you all through the intranet and social distancing. So many of you have since come up to introduce yourself and welcome me to your world and the Hutt teams.

The first few weeks in the new role went by in a blur. I met key people within my portfolio, toured the wards and attended bed meetings. All while navigating my way along very quiet corridors following the orange line.

Being part of International Nurses Day and having the honour of walking the wards with our CEO, acknowledging the work that you do in caring for our patients especially during COVID, was a personal highlight.

I left Auckland where COVID planning and implementation was at the forefront of my role. Arriving here, I saw the level of commitment, planning, education and upskilling of Hutt staff. This was key ensuring HVDHB was well prepared for what might eventuate. The level of professionalism across the whole hospital as we adapted to each of the level changes was also evident.

I continue to spend time looking, listening and learning. In any hospital, on any given day, needing enough staff, beds or resources is similar across the board. The continual improvement of operational systems and processes along with providing clinical and professional leadership, is paramount to me.This goes hand in hand with my passion for getting the basics right. All this will contribute to the best health outcomes for patients. I am looking forward to the continuing impact CCDM will have. It is exciting to know we can cope when times are tough and not lose sight of what is important.

Thank you for sharing your world with me and for making me feel so welcome during a time of great stress and change."