The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-three has a passion for Maori Health and says making her patients feel comfortable is her top priority, and bringing banter, good humour and positivity to the role is a must, she says.
We’re in the beautiful Aparima for Dee’s fortnightly clinic together with student nurse Yvette Cleaver. At Diosma House on the town’s main road we are ready for the first caller to pop in.
It’s free, and anyone is welcome to call in, Dee says.
In fact, that’s what’s so unique about the Mauri Ora Community Nursing Mobile service. It’s for everyone at no charge and no appointment necessary, she says. The drop-in clinics are held in small rural communities across Southland offering cardio vascular risk assessments, blood pressure checks, health and wellness plans, linkage to other agencies, and more.
Her warm approach has regulars coming back time after time.
Just ask Oraka local Lynley McKay, who pops in regularly for a checkup with Dee.
She says it’s relaxed, calm, and more convenient than visiting her GP “and I find it really easy to talk to Dee.”
That seems to be a reoccurring theme I hear as we travel over to Betty Davis’ house for a home visit. Betty says she appreciates the visits and that Dee has helped her with her medical alarm and organizing meals on wheels.
The visits have made her comfortable and supported and “I know I can always ring her if I need to.”
Dee enjoys visiting people in their homes because they’re more comfortable in their own environment, and she knows that sometimes just having someone pop in to check they’re OK can brighten their day, even their week, she says.
It’s a new day and a new clinic as we arrive at Glengarry’s Eastside Baptist Church to find a lineup of whanau waiting for their turn with Dee.
Rita Urlich, a regular at the Glengarry clinic, says Dee keeps an eye on her health which has been beneficial to her and with limited mobility saves her trying to find her way to the doctor, she says.
“It’s important to me to have this (clinic). If we lost this service, I would find it really hard.”
The Mauri Ora Community Nursing Service is mobile with a focus on Invercargill and Western Southland areas. The Mauri Ora nurse can:
- Assess and establish a whanau health plan.
- Identify strategies for improved health for the whole whanau.
- Identify and plan for whanau health priorities.
- Support and care of conditions e.g. diabetes, nutrition, and cardiovascular disease.
To get in touch with Dee contact (03) 214 5260 or free phone 0800 925 242.