NZ Certificate graduates at Wakari ceremony. Left to right: Ingrid Roberts (occupational therapist), Lynn Mclachlan (physiotherapist and Careerforce assessor), Hannah Clark (professional leader dental therapy and Careerforce assessor), graduates Sue Clark, Baillie Gray, Carla Benfell, Natasha Snell, Kirsty Donaldson).
Five health assistant staff at Southern DHB received their NZQA Level 3 course certifications during March, the latest graduates from the allied health assistant (AHA) training programme.
Allied Health Occupational Therapy Assistant Sue Clark along with Dental Assistants Bailee Gray, Kirsty Donaldson, Carla Benfell and Natasha Snell were presented with their certificates at a ceremony held at Wakari Hospital.
The Level 3 NZ Certificate aims to develop the skills and knowledge required to provide care under the direction and delegation of a health professional in a range of health contexts. Southern DHB has been leading the way in the South Island for piloting the dental assistant component and supporting its AHA workforce to complete the certificate. To date a total of 22 assistants have completed this certificate since its introduction in Southern DHB in 2013.
When asked what stood out for them about the course, Susan Clark and Carla Benfell both emphasised the value of the Treaty of Waitangi component. Susan said, “It opened everything up for me, I’m now using it in my workplace to connect patients with the right people and resources.” Carla reflected that for her the Treaty ‘came alive’ and the whole course made her think about how she was applying her dental therapy assistant practice in her workplace.
Professional Leader for Dental Therapy Hannah Clark said, “We have a significant number of our assistant workforce who have now completed this training. It has involved a ‘stretch’ for them, but it has been exciting to see them grow in their self-confidence and ability to do their job. More importantly, patients and the wider dental therapy team have benefited from our assistants completing this certificate.”
The South Island Workforce Development Hub (SIWDH) is working alongside Southern DHB to support access and promotion of the certificate to staff across the district and the South Island. Catherine Coups, Allied Health Project Lead for SIWDH, said, “This graduation marks the beginning and end of an era for the regional allied health assistant training programme, with Sue Clark being in the first cohort of AHAs across the South Island to complete the NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing and the dental assistants being amongst the last to complete the National Certificate for Health Assistants. It’s great to see so many of Southern DHB’s workforce completing this certificate and to hear how the course is delivering direct benefits to the staff and patients within their workplace.”