End of an era: Only 15 Karitane nurses left

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 4:56PM
There were once hundreds of the nurses - now, they are at risk of going completely. (Photo / Getty)

The call's gone out to Karitane nurses around the country to come out of retirement.

The service, which began in the early 1900s, is now seriously at risk.

There are just 15 left in the country, with 59 years old, while at the same time, demand for the service is growing massively.

Owner of Karitane Nurses and Nannies Miranda Smith told Heather du Plessis-Allan that they could use at least 100 based on current demand. 

"We probably get around five calls a day requesting for a Karitane nurses, and the 15 we have in the Auckland area are always booked in demand."

She says that they want any former nurses to come out of retirement if they can spare a few hours  a week.

"A lot of nurses may feel that their skills are outdated or they are no longer relevant, but they are just such a treasure."

Smith says that they have skills that no one else thery have found has. She says that their expertise in mothercraft skills, such as around bathing and sleep routines, as well as caring for the mother, makes them different from registered nurse. 

Karitane nurses spent about 20 months on the course based out of the Karitane Hospital, but they do not require a nursing degree. Training closed in 1978, and it means that they are unable to train any other nurses.

Smith says that they attempted to set up a new course, but it proved too onerous. It means that this will be the "end of an era", as the nurses have existed for over 100 years. 

"Lots of people remember them and know them. There's a whole generation that grew up and didn't know them, and now they are ringing up and wondering where they are." 



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