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A childhood dream of being a nurse is one step closer to becoming true for long-serving primary care practice assistant Deb Morrison.

Deb has worked at the Belfast North Mediqual Doctors in Christchurch for 15 years and thanks to a workplace-based training programme, she is on a mission to upskill and follow her dreams.

“I’ve always wanted to do my training as a nurse but I never had the opportunity to do this when I was growing up,” she says.

“This is a journey I’ve always wanted to take.”

Deb says the Apprenticeship training has been a dream come true.

She’s just completed the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Primary Care Practice Assistance, becoming the first apprentice to graduate from the new programme developed by the Industry Training Organisation (ITO), Careerforce.

Deb says the Apprenticeship has given her a newfound self-assurance in many aspects of her role.

“Now I find myself feeling a lot more confident so I will give things a go, whereas before I would just sit back and watch,” she says.

“I think these new skills have given me a much better understanding, so when people phone up and want an appointment I can point them in the right direction, I can make a suggestion, or go to colleagues for advice without hesitating.”

“I know exactly what I should be doing and do it to the best of my ability, knowing I have a good team backing me. I work within my scope and if I’m not sure I’ll always ask.”

She works for a team-centred medical surgery in Belfast, which services families and businesses in Christchurch and North Canterbury.

Her newfound skills and confidence has also provided a welcome boost to her employer and practice team of five doctors and four nurses, as now Deb puts her hand up for more responsibility in her role.

“Now my work colleagues ask me to assist them and that makes me feel good because I’m proving myself, I’m trusted, and I’ve got the skills to do it,” she says.

“And it’s helping them and the doctors as well. I love the responsibility.”

Deb says her workplace and colleagues have been very supportive of her training journey.

“I am positive my new skills have added a lot of value to my workplace,” Deb says.

As the ITO for the health and wellbeing sectors, Careerforce has developed the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Primary Care Practice Assistance so people like Deb can put a formal framework around the work they do every day, allowing them to gain a formal qualification through on-job training.

The qualification also provides the apprentice with a career pathway to higher learning such as diploma or degree-level qualifications.



Are you interested in a career as a Primary Care Practice Assistant? Check out more Careerforce qualifications here: