Gill supports other health professionals and the community to improve immunisation coverage and protection for vaccine preventable disease. She promotes education and understanding of how vaccines work and why they’re so important, working with stakeholders and community groups to help break down barriers to immunisation.
Gill works in with the regional screening unit, a group of talented and diverse women who are very passionate about their work. This team supports immunisation and also looks after the Cervical Screening Programme and B4 School Check Programme (health and development check for 4-year-olds).
Are you working on any special projects?
I’m leading the MMR immunisation catch up programme that was delayed due to the arrival and development of the COVID-19 vaccine programme to Taranaki. In May 2021 the catch-up programme resumed and we vaccinated nearly 350 Taranaki secondary school students with MMR at to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. This was a really successful project and was able to be run alongside the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
What’s your background?
I went to Spotswood College and have since returned to Taranaki regularly to visit and support my parents. I initially trained as a primary school teacher but in London I trained to be a paediatric nurse. I worked in Waikato for three years as a paediatric nurse with interest in paediatric palliative care. I worked in Wellington as an RN in paediatric palliative care, paediatric oncology and as a paediatric nurse educator. I moved into general practice in 2007 and for the next 14 years spent most time as a nurse/clinical manager for a large practice in Wellington. During this time, I was a key change lead as a new practice model of care as a pilot practice in Wellington. I completed my MA (Nursing) and have undertaken further post graduate study to enhance my knowledge around effective management/leadership.
Immunisations have always been a passion of mine as my nursing philosophy centres on providing best possible care for children and families/whānau. I believe immunisations should focus on all communities/whānau not just children.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Recognising immunisations rates need improving and being able to consider different ways, thinking outside the box, to achieve this.
What inspires you to keep doing your work?
Knowing that improved uptakes of immunisations for children and families/whānau will help improve health outcomes and address equity.
Any big plans or dreams?
I really would like to see Taranaki DHB take the lead for improving its own immunisations rates and be a shining light to other DHBs. I want to work closely with primary health colleagues to achieve this.