Katrina Scott, Jocelyn Wakefield, Amy Balfour and Catherine Peterson are the first graduates of Whitireia Community Polytechnic’s new Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) degree which is being run in conjunction with Wellington Free Ambulance.
The four, now employed by Wellington Free Ambulance, were among 115 nursing students to graduate from Whitireia last week.
Other new graduates included those newly-capped with a Bachelor of Nursing, which had a 100 percent pass rate for the final nursing registration exams, and students who gained graduate diplomas of Psychiatric Registration and of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, and postgraduate certificates in Forensic Psychiatric Care, Hospice Palliative Care, Perioperative Specialty Nursing, and in Primary Health Care Specialty Nursing.
Around 700 people turned up to what is a very distinctive graduation ceremony. After processing through Porirua in full regalia, the formal capping ceremony was followed by a very informal – but emotionally moving – hour and more of speeches and waiata from friends and family of the new graduates. There were contributions from partners, parents, aunties and uncles, in-laws and the very young.
The Dean of the Health, Education and Social Sciences faculty, Dr Margaret Southwick, said this was a typical Whitireia school of nursing graduation. “There’s a whole whanau feel to the graduation. Our undergraduate students are with us for three to five years until they are qualified, so they become a real part of our family. This is an opportunity for family and friends to speak about the journey they’ve taken together from their perspective, to share the struggles they’ve had along the way.”
Graduating students had come from throughout the country and as far away as Australia to attend last week’s ceremony.