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Published Thursday 15 Sep 2022

The spotlight was on one of our Hutt nurses recently when Sala Eastwood became the face of a promotional campaign for Whitireia Community Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Nursing Pacific programme.

We took some behind-the-scene shots of Sala while she was photographed and filmed for the campaign, while asking how the past eight months have been for her since jumping on board.

Sala, who is of Fijian descent, graduated from Whitireia Community Polytechnic in 2021, after completing the educational institution’s three-year Bachelor of Nursing Pacific course.

Sala, alongside 25 others in her class, had a 100 per cent pass rate.

It didn’t take long for Sala to get into the mix, jumping straight onto the frontline with a registered nurse’s role at Hutt Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).

Moving quickly into an environment like ED can be difficult for the best of health professionals, but Sala says her nursing practical training, along with her studies at Whitireia, prepared her well to deal with what was to come.

“Since I graduated, I would have to say it has been challenging at times, but it’s also been really good. I enjoy working in ED in a supportive environment and I would have to say my time at Whitireia helped with that.

The Pacific nursing course I did at Whitireia was amazing. What helped me coming into this role was that I did my placement (practical) here in the Hutt for nine weeks. Connecting that with the theory side of things I did at Whitireia was incredible and helped me to be ready to handle ED.”

Sala, who credits the support of her tutors, the Pacific Strategy Team and the connections she made with her fellow classmates for her success,said she was stunned when asked by Whitireia to be the face of their nursing promotional campaign. She initially wasn’t sure if she wanted to be the star of the show, which would have included telling her story to becoming a nurse in a filmed interview. However, she accepted their offer and hopes her story will encourage more Pasifika people to pursue a career in nursing.

“When Whitireia called me I was like don’t you have other students you could use,” Sala joked.

“But I feel honoured and privileged to be working in ED and to now be the face of the course for Whitireia. I just hope my story will inspire others who are thinking of becoming a nurse to go for it. I want to encourage Pacific people to not let anything be a barrier for them to move into health. If you want to be a nurse and help your family and community, I’m saying go for it.”

Whitireia and WelTec Lead Marketing Specialist Charlotte Carter said they approached Sala for their Bachelor of Nursing Pacific promotion because they believe her story will inspire others to take a similar route.

“We engaged with Sala for our Whitireia and WelTec graduate success project as she has an incredibly inspiring story. We hope her journey into the nursing profession will resonate with Pacific audiences and encourage those with a passion to take the next step in their career.”

The Whitireia Bachelor of Nursing Pacific is a unique programme where students learn to integrate their knowledge of Pacific communities, cultural practices and nursing knowledge to improve health outcomes for Pacific peoples and the wider community in Aotearoa and overseas.