Simple mission drives decades of dedication

20:20, May 11 2014
jo lightfoot
CARING AND SHARING: Nurse Jo Lightfoot chats candidly about life as a mental health nurse for International Nurses Day.

Jo Lightfoot set out on a nursing career because she simply wanted to help people. Her mission has not changed, 28 years on.

The Southland mental health emergency team nurse had dedicated her time to the medical profession in the mental and physical healthcare fields and said she would not change it for anything.

"I thought I wanted to help people, that was my simple mission. And it hasn't changed," Lightfoot said.

Today marks International Nurses Day where the world over, nurses like Lightfoot will be recognised for their hard but ultimately rewarding work.

While nursing had evolved and changed over the years, core patient needs remained the same, she said. The hours could be long and gruelling but it was definitely rewarding. There was always something to do, something new to learn, she said.

"I'm a firm believer that only boring people are bored."

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To that end, Lightfoot has enrolled in some more post-grad study this year, in conjunction with work and family life.

Nursing was just one of those professions where people knuckled in and did it, she said.

"There's always something new to learn, everything's constantly changing."

Nursing runs in the family. Her eldest daughter is in her third year of a nursing degree.

The Southland District Health Board employs more than 2000 nurses across Southland and Otago.

Southern District Health Board executive director of nursing and midwifery Leanne Samuel said International Nurses Day was a great opportunity for them to celebrate the work of their wonderful nurses at the Southern DHB.

"We have absolutely extraordinary nurses and there are so many fantastic examples of our expert nursing staff going the extra mile to deliver the very best care for patients and our community."

Award ceremonies will be held in Dunedin and Invercargill to acknowledge nursing innovation, clinical excellence and outstanding practice in nursing across the region. The Invercargill awards will be held at Ascot Park Hotel's Waiau Room from 6pm.

The Southland Times