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Optimising Long Term Conditions – Developing the role of kaiāwhina

Workforce development pages

Introducing Bobbie Cameron


Bobbie is the primary care/PHO manager at Ngāti Porou Hauora (NPH). She joined NPH in February 2019 and one of her tasks is to develop the role of kaiāwhina who work across a range of services in the community.

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About Ngāti Porou Hauora


Ngāti Porou Hauora is the sole primary care provider for a challenging geographic area that stretches over 200 km of coastline. The organisation is based at Te Puia Springs Hospital and operates 7 other community health clinics throughout the East Coast region. The isolation and remote nature of each of these communities means that everyone knows each other, and most are related. These qualities provide strength when it comes to caring for one another. The isolated nature of the region also means that recruitment and retention of qualified health professionals is challenging with critical shortages in some areas.

What has been done so far


When Bobbie first started working at NPH, the majority of the kaiāwhina were used as drivers, taking people to and from clinic. However, kaiāwhina are often the only members of the healthcare team who observe people in their own homes and the wider whānau context. This knowledge and understanding is critical to the delivery of whānau-centred care and linking to other services and supports.

Kaiāwhina carry out activities delegated by a nurse and more recently have been developing a broader set of skills and knowledge. All kaiāwhina have undergone smoking cessation training and some have been trained to take blood and provide self-swabbing instructions for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. Kaiāwhina at NPH also played a key role in testing a new Heart Foundation cardiovascular risk assessment tool.


Developing the health coach


The success of those initiatives coupled with the development of nurse practitioner roles, enabling nurses to ‘step up’ and support GPs, has allowed the kaiāwhina role to be extended. Bobbie identified health coaching to be a good fit for the next phase of service development and made contact with Health Literacy NZ to provide a health coaching framework and training for kaiāwhina at NPH.

In this video Bobbie talks about the journey so far.

Find out more information about health coaching.

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