Summer Gibbs, Mental Health ABC Team Nurse
Summer started with us in January of this year as a registered nurse in the ABC team after completing placements within Te Whatu Ora Taranaki as a student nurse in 2019. Summer is currently completing her post-graduate certificate in mental health and addictions and helping with the formulation and conduction of risk assessment and suicide prevention training for the winder mental health department alongside her clinical nurse manager.
Tell us about your team
The ABC Team is a group of registered nurses, a social worker and our psychiatrist, who are strong, clinically sound, and who I see as incredible role models for me as a new graduate. I feel surrounded by awhi and aroha in the team, I’m always able to ask questions and for direction in an environment free of judgement. I completed half of my transition placement with ABC in my final year of study, which solidified my passion for mental health and exposed me to an area of care that I had not been privy to prior, but also one that I am fortunate enough to now be a part of as a registered nurse. My job allows me to work within all areas of mental health, and everyone that I have been in contact with have been supportive, kind and open to my learning.
Tell us about your role
We are a 24/7 community service, providing support to tangata whaiora all over Taranaki. Our team responds to mental health crises in the community, working alongside multidisciplinary teams both in the hospital and in the community. We work closely with the emergency department and the Police, ensuring that those who are struggling with mental health problems are safe. Our team conducts mental health assessments and assess peoples mental state, risks and safety. From there, we facilitate continued care – whether it be a referral back to primary services, referrals to community mental health teams, facilitating respite accommodation, or organising admissions into the inpatient unit. We work alongside whanau of tangata whaiora to ensure that the best interest of our clients are upheld and the best decisions for care are made for all involved.
What’s your background, how did you get to this point in your career?
During my transition I was fortunate enough to work in the ABC Team for five weeks. I knew that mental health was where I was meant to be, but I wasn’t sure which area to choose!
Before becoming a registered nurse, I became a māmā. Then during my studies, I worked in retail. I chose nursing because I didn’t want to move out of Taranaki to study midwifery after my son was born, but I fell in love with nursing during my first week of study.
What’s the best thing about your job?
So many things! My co-workers, who support and care for me in my journey as a nurse. Being able to complete further study in mental health with the support from the team. I think the best part of my job, though is being able to provide awhi to those in my community who are in need of it. Meeting tangata whaiora, their whanau and support networks, working with them all to ensure their mental health is protected and supported. I meet beautiful people on every shift, who let me into their lives and their worlds to care for them. I always have a full heart, even if the shift is stressful, even after working doubles, I am always so aware of how lucky I am to be in the position I am allowed to be in by tangata whaiora.
What inspires you to keep doing your work?
Again, so many things! I love my job, I love my co-workers, I love that we can help people during crises. I feel like mental health is where I need to be.
What does the future hold, any big plans or dreams you want to tell us about?
I would love to become a duly authorised officer as soon as I am able to. I have always wanted to work in prisons and in forensic mental health. My main career goal is to complete all my relevant study and become a nurse practitioner in mental health.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I am a māmā, I have a 5-year-old tama who keeps me busy and warms my heart. I play netball, loves a little knit, and playing guitar. I spend a lot of time with my whanau, currently exploring my whakapapa with my cousin.