Students and staff to graduate

Last year's graduation

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014

Proving that learning is a lifelong journey, three staff from the Faculty of Education, Health, Nursing and Social Services at Toi Ohomai will graduate with a Master of Applied Professional Studies (Vulnerable Peoples) this week.

The graduation ceremony will take place at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua on Tuesday, 2 April, and involve 550 graduands including Jayne Conning, Sandra Crawford and Richard Brown.

Richard and Jayne’s research projects had a more personal focus, whereas Sandra’s involved the nursing profession.

Richard’s research focussed on offering insight in to appropriate support for bereaved parents, after he experienced the loss of his 12- year- old son 10 years ago. A difficult subject to complete, Richard seeks to raise awareness of the grief experienced by parents and how others offer support , yet do not fully understand the impact their words or actions may have.  

In his dissertation, Richard says at such a sensitive time, it is vital for the welfare of bereaved parents that there are trained professionals from the outset who can support, in an appropriate manner, with listening skills and an open manner especially where a traumatic situation has occurred and resulted in the loss of a child.

Jayne’s research explores dyslexia and its impact on dyslexic learners. It was inspired by her own journey of raising a child with dyslexia and she says her objective was to provide a better understanding of the disorder.

“Dyslexia is commonly misunderstood in the community and, disturbingly, amongst educators at all levels. I want to help raise awareness of dyslexia, and most importantly, to aid dyslexic learners to understand their dyslexia and the many benefits of being dyslexic.”

Jayne says she had previously enjoyed learning about vulnerable people and she wanted to continue to explore this area.

“Taking the vulnerable people’s path was an interesting learning journey. We learned about what it means to be vulnerable and that we are all vulnerable at times, this is dependent upon a multitude of factors. 

“During my postgraduate diploma I looked at several vulnerable populations, these included solo mothers studying for a nursing degree, and obesity in student nurses. I thoroughly enjoyed broadening my knowledge and understanding of these populations and how we can best support them to good health and academic success.”

Jayne says she is looking forward to celebrating with her family after all the hard work.

“My family have patiently and lovingly supported me while I spent many hours on the computer, they deserve this as much as I do.”

She will be joined on stage by her peer Sandra Crawford, who recently joined the nursing department at Toi Ohomai.

Sandra says she had to complete a research protocols paper not long after starting with Toi Ohomai and expected it to be heavy-going and possibly boring.

“However due to the incredible tutor and his amazing way of teaching, I actually found it to be an exciting topic.  So, I enthusiastically embarked on the Master of Applied Professional Studies dissertation last year.

“Through my own experience of leaving a nurse role, to come into nurse education, I chose the research question:  What are the key challenges in transitioning from nurse clinician role to nurse educator role?”

She says the aim was to find out how to best support and prepare nurses during this time of transition.  

“The main support has been from the incredible supervisor I had, whose prompt responses enabled me to have the guidance I needed. With a fellow nurse, who was also working on her dissertation last year, we were able to be mutual support for each other, which was helpful.”

Sandra says the highlight of conducting her research was interviewing 17 participants.