Staff Profiles

Michael Connelly - Emergency Medicine clinical director

Michael first worked with Taranaki DHB in 2004-2005 when he was a nocturnist for Base ED. After several years working in Miami, he returned in 2014 and assumed his leadership role in 2018.

Michael’s role has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring high quality emergency care for all patients in Taranaki. This involves leading the Emergency Medicine consultants in their provision of care both at Base and Hawera Emergency Departments.

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Kristie McCulloch, kaitautoko mate huka (diabetes)

As kaitautoko mate huka, Kristie is part of the Diabetes Integrated Team, a new service being rolled out across Taranaki. Employed by Tui Ora, Kristie works within a new multi-organisational diabetes team supporting people with diabetes (PWD) to enable better health outcomes. Kristie’s role supports whanau along their journey with diabetes from the beginning or at various stages. The role will particularly focus on supporting Maori who have diabetes out of control or uncontrolled (hbA1c greater than 80), and whanau who are newly diagnosed.

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Diana Harkin, oncology pharmacist

Diana helps to make sure our patients receiving parenteral cancer treatment receive the correct medication and at the right dose for their clinical status. This means thinking about other conditions, their kidney or liver function and other medications.

Cancer treatments are often considered high risk due to the nature of the side-effects they can cause. To ensure patients and staff are kept as safe as possible during dispensing and administration processes our treatments are made by an aseptic compounding company offsite. This means Diana’s role also involves lots of logistical challenges to make sure we receive the correct treatments on time.

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Gill Freeman – immunisation coordinator

Gill is one of our two immunisation coordinators who’re part of our Regional Screening Unit team - a group of talented and diverse women 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).

Gill educates on how vaccines work and why they’re so important, supporting other health professionals and our community to improve immunisation coverage and protection from vaccine preventable diseases.

Leading the MMR immunisation catch up programme, Gill recently helped us vaccinate around 350 Taranaki secondary school students to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.  

The ex-Spotswood College student and former nurse has recently returned to Taranaki and says immunisation has always been a passion of hers. The best thing about her work is being able to consider different ways, thinking outside the box, to improve immunisation rates and health outcomes and address inequities.

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Emma Davey – clinical director South Taranaki Rural Health and Fellow of the Division of Rural Hospital Medicine (FDRHMNZ)

Emma started with us in 2014, her clinical role being a rural generalist doctor providing rural emergency and inpatient generalist care for the people of South Taranaki.

“The role and scope of the clinical work is broad and interesting.  You never know what is going to come through the doors and need to make decisions to either stabilise and transfer patients to another hospital or admit patients to our Hāwera inpatient ward. 

It’s about knowing the limitations of our own skillset and scope of practice as a generalist and when you need to phone a specialist friend.  It’s also about understanding the skillset of the Hāwera Hospital nursing and allied health teams and the resources available which at times can be limited and variable when compared to Base Hospital. 

We need to understand our rural context, our location and the distance from a Base Hospital and the ambulance resources that are available when caring for patients and these factors my change hour to hour.”

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Jake Mills – consumer engagement advisor

Starting with us in September 2020, Jake’s a conduit between people who access our services, the community and our staff who all shape the way we approach consumer engagement. Jake works to embed a shared partnership/person-centred approach here at Taranaki DHB.

His role aims to build systems and processes to enable a strong consumer voice at all levels of healthcare – from Direct Care, Service Delivery, Policy and Governance.

Jake’s working to establish the inaugural Consumer Council and then work alongside the council to develop the Taranaki DHB Consumer Engagement Framework. This will help to formalise all of the amazing consumer engagement the people within our DHB are doing every day.

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Ross Ekdahl – community manager Mental Health & Addiction Services

Ross started with us in 2005 as a registered nurse in Te Puna Waiora our inpatient mental health unit. These days he manages our five mental health and addiction teams: Adult North & South Community; Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS); Mental Health Services for Older People (MHSOP); Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD).

Ross is inspired in his work by the desire to improve our services to be worthy of the trust our whānau place in us to care for them and their loved ones. “To be able to share in a person’s life at the moment they are most vulnerable and provide comfort, hope and support to see things can and will get better is a real privilege. I don’t take for granted the huge trust that person and their whānau is placing in our service in reaching out to us for help.”

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Geraint Emrys – Health and Safety Service occupational medicine specialist

Occupational medicine is about the effects of work on health and of health on work. For the Taranaki DHB Geraint assesses and look after the staff rather than the public, and gives advice on their capacity to perform their work with the primary goal of helping staff to remain in their jobs or advises on changes of functional limitations because of their health.

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John Doran – paediatrician, clinical director Child and Maternal Health, and academic co-ordinator University of Auckland Medical School Taranaki

John works two days a week with general paediatrics, mainly outpatient clinics in New Plymouth, Stratford and Hāwera. He no longer takes part in the after-hours call roster for general paediatrics.

As Clinical Director for Child and Maternal Health John helps support the safe and smooth running of paediatric and women’s health acute and outpatient services.  Another important aspect of the role is being part of the team looking towards the future development of these crucial parts of the health services for Taranaki.

As Academic Coordinator he’s also responsible for supporting the Year 5 and 6 medical students from the University of Auckland who are placed here for one year’s training. This programme has been part of the DHB for six years now and goes from strength to strength. One of the highlights for both the programme and the students is the six-week placement of Year 5 students at South Taranaki based in Hāwera.

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Bailey Harvey – Occupational health clinical nurse specialist

Bailey works to provide support for staff with work and non-workplace injuries and rehabilitation, putting in measures to keep staff safe and healthy. A nurse for more than five years, after graduating from WITT, Bailey started here in the Neo Natal Unit and the Emergency Department then worked at a GP practice and a private occupational health company. She loves the variety nursing offers and working with inspiring people as part of like-minded teams – all working to make things better. 

“I’m glad I listened to my mum and grandmother. I’ve always felt it’s a privilege to be a nurse. We’re very lucky to be a part of someone’s health journey and help them when they’re at their most vulnerable. Nursing’s given me a very diverse career in which I’ve never been bored and there’s always something to learn and someone new to meet.”

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Hayley Scott – associate director of nursing for Mental Health & Addictions Services

Hayley’s job is to ensure MH&AS staff have the skills and capacity to deliver best practice care to the individuals and whānau who use our service. The role has a professional focus and primarily is about maintenance and growth of a strong nursing culture which harnesses and values the contribution of nurses to build workforce capability, readiness and capacity.

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Tom Boswell – gastroenterologist and clinical lead bowel screening for Taranaki

Tom’s role is to help develop policies and procedures related to bowel screening, and provide information and education to all those involved in running the National Bowel Screening Programme in Taranaki.

The programme is due to launch in Taranaki in 2021 and is a large piece of work with involvement of teams across many clinical and non-clinical departments, and requires integration with primary care providers. Tom has also been involved in implementing quality improvement and productivity initiatives in the endoscopy unit which will help to catch up our current backlog of patients on the waiting list and create capacity for the projected increase in demand that bowel screening will bring.

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Keith Wallace – ICT Infrastructure team lead

Keith and his team are working behind-the-scenes to make technology work for us and our community. Keith’s role is to manage our related infrastructure technologies and people. He facilitates the design, deployment and support of everything ICT Infrastructure. This means understanding our organisational needs, and how his team can use technology to help meet them in a high value, efficient way.

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Sharon Luque – Hospital play specialist

You’ll see Sharon on most wards around Taranaki Base Hospital, and mainly on the Children and Young People’s Ward 2B. She supports children, young people and their whānau to cope with hospitalisation by building coping strategies and resilience and using ‘play’ to help our patients participate in their healthcare. The best things about her work “are seeing the children leave hospital with a smile on their faces – and wanting to come back… knowing, that I have done my job well, not only for the child but for their whānau too”.

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Hamish Hardy – Flight nurse

Hamish believes he has “absolutely the best job in the world”.

The best things about it are the autonomy that it offers, and the opportunity to make a real positive impact in people’s lives – and not just the patient themselves, but also their loved ones.

Making sure patients safely get to where they need to be for potentially lifesaving treatment really is a huge buzz, and a privilege to be part of.  For a lot of people, flying in a small plane or helicopter in a variety of weather conditions creates a fair bit of anxiety, on top of an already difficult time for them. It’s hugely rewarding when a patient tells you that you made a big difference to their overall experience of the healthcare system.

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Rebekah Finnigan – part-time cardiology, part-time pool nurse

A nurse for several years since training at WITT, Rebekah recently joined the Taranaki DHB cardiology team, which she loves. Also working as a pool nurse in most departments wherever she’s needed, Rebekah says the awesome thing about nursing is there are so many different areas and paths you can take. She never wanted to do a job just to pay the bills she wanted to do something she’s passionate about and enjoyed waking up for. “I honestly feel inspired most days that I could somehow make a difference in someone’s life, in some small way. This could be just having a laugh with someone who might not have laughed in months, or listening long enough for a patient to feel they’re not alone, or supporting families through what could be the hardest times of their lives.”

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Katy O’Neill – Speech Language Therapist

Katy and her dedicated team of speech language therapists assess, diagnose, treat and support people with communication or swallowing difficulties. Katy works especially with adults with acquired speech, language and swallowing disorders, who may have a progressive disease or had a stroke. The mum of three loves getting to know her clients and finds it super rewarding to see someone communicate their message successfully or manage to eat that piece of food that they love safely without coughing. 

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Lucy Sibanda – Allergies Improvement coordinator

As our Allergies Improvement coordinator, Lucy’s working with our Taranaki DHB teams on sustainable processes and systems for staff when treating patients with allergies or side effects to medicines or food.  Lucy is inspired by making a difference to improving patient safety and enjoys seeing positive changes in the way people see allergies. She says it’s super important for us to pay attention to our allergies or any suspected side effects and talk about them whenever we’re seeing a health professional.

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Kareen McLeod – Bowel screening clinical nurse specialist

Kareen’s working with our project team preparing for the National Bowel Screening Programme coming soon to Taranaki. A large part of Kareen’s work will be supporting patients through their bowel screening journeys, as free bowel screening will be offered to eligible men and women aged 60 to 74. With bowel cancer being New Zealand’s second biggest cancer killer, bowel screening can save lives by finding cancer early when it can often be successfully treated.

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Drew Sommerville – ICT applications and portfolio manager

Drew is our ICT applications and portfolio manager. With his team of 16 they create solutions for TDHB’s vast range of projects, support our many system applications, and there are always several huge projects on the go. The best thing about work for Drew is the satisfaction of seeing his team members grow and achieve. He loves working with “an extremely focused team of individuals keen to deliver quality solutions to the many requests they receive”.

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Ian Perry - Deteriorating patient and resuscitation nurse educator

As our new deteriorating patient and resuscitation nurse educator, Ian says the best things about nursing are the comradery, friendships, and teamwork and being part of the whole inter-professional team working to improve patient care.

“I find it hugely rewarding to care for the critically ill and injured and help them recover to a normal life as well as having the having the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge, teaching my colleagues to do the same.”

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Chris Sorensen – Lead Clinical Governance Advisor

Starting with us in 1979 as a nurse, these days Chris works within Hospital & Specialist Services and clinical areas, with specific portfolios – Incident and Complaints Management, Privacy Officer, and Acute Mental Health and Addictions.

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Bryce Gordon – ICT Manager Customer Experience

Bryce’s role links all of the hospital IT users (customers) and the ICT department, ensuring the overall experience for our customers is a good one. The key elements are communication, especially around outages/system availability, capacity and change management and ensuring the Service Desk team provides level 1 operational support for all of our applications.

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Mathew Williams – Clinical Physiologist Respiratory

Mathew works in the Cardiology/Respiratory Department to diagnose and treat patients with respiratory conditions. His role involves lung function diagnostic testing including spirometry, lung volumes, gas transfer, efficacy of inhaled treatments and asthma provocations. Mathew’s patients are referred from general practices, fire and emergency services or by respiratory specialists, usually to query the cause of a chronic cough, shortness of breath, or asthma versus chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Emily Whitehead – Ward 3A Clinical Nurse Manager

Emily works in Ward 3A – a 30-bed, fast-paced general surgical ward with bowel surgery and urology as a specialty.

The best things about being a nurse for Emily are the variety of people she meets and having the chance to be a part of their lives at a very vulnerable time.

“Nursing gives you the opportunity to challenge your own expectations of yourself alongside the chance to truly make a difference every day.”

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Rebecca Laidlaw – Autoimmune/Hepatology clinical nurse specialist

Becky works in Medical Outpatients as an autoimmune/hepatology clinical nurse specialist. On Mondays she sees people with multiple sclerosis to monitor their disease and treatment which requires regular blood tests and MRI scans.

The mother of two has been a nurse for seven years and plans to start her nurse practitioner masters next year. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Becky is learning the hepatology speciality. Clinics on these days include patients with conditions ranging from autoimmune liver disease to hepatitis C. A large part of her role is screening for HCC, a common form of liver cancer, which includes six-monthly blood screening and ultrasound.

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Jo Tatler - Clinical Pharmacist in ICU

Jo loves working with doctors, nurses, patients and whānau to help ensure our patients receive the correct medication at the right dose for their current clinical status.

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Anthony Valvoi - Sterile Services Coordinator and Educator

Anthony’s role is to ensure the Sterile Services Department runs smoothly – all equipment is running correctly and his department staff are all good. “Each day is different with its challenges and its rewards. No matter how long you’re in this job you can’t learn everything. New surgical instrumentation is being developed yearly. The way operations are done are forever changing for the better and we’re now able to do so much more than we ever could over the last 50 years.

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Gabi Klapka - Clinical Midwife Manager

A midwife for more than 20 years, Gabi is passionate about working in partnership with wāhine/women and their whānau, empowering and educating them so they can make informed and best decisions for themselves. “I so much enjoy meeting people, learning from them and sharing my knowledge. Every family is unique and I always feel privileged being part of this very special time.”

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Grace Maha - Midwife and Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) Prevention Coordinator

Grace supports māma and whānau and also promotes safe sleep practices for pēpi around Taranaki. “My desire to truly help people and make a difference is what inspires me.  Of course this is true for all people but my calling is to help my own people.  I want to see and be a part of changing some of the inequities that exist for Māori.  The best thing about being a midwife is knowing you’re responsible for two lives at a time.  Knowing the care that I give can make or break a woman’s belief in herself.  Pregnancy and birth is such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life and I can make a huge difference.”

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Deb Greenhead - Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner

It’s great news for our busy Emergency Department (ED) and our patients. With her nurse practitioner qualification, Deb’s skills and knowledge are helping reduce patient wait times at Taranaki Base Hospital’s ED, shorten their length of stay and ultimately increase patient satisfaction.

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Emma Jordan - Deteriorating Patient and Resuscitation Nurse Educator

“For me nursing isn’t really a job, it becomes who you are as well. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s all about caring for those at their most vulnerable, making sure they’re heard, and taking time to listen to people’s stories. I’ve loved nursing more and more every day that I do it and I’m consistently inspired by being able to make a positive difference to the system that cares for our community.”

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Victoria Hill and Dan Hurley - Recently qualified Clinical Nurse Specialists Emergency Department (ED)

Congratulations to Victoria Hill and Dan Hurley who recently qualified as ED clinical nurse specialists (CNS). The two were just six weeks into the post-graduate 16-week course through Auckland University when COVID-19 kicked in. At Taranaki Base Hospital’s ED, CNSs work with the nurse practitioner and consult with doctors, focusing on advanced assessment, treatment and discharge of minor cases.

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Cynthia Seamark - Associate Clinical Nurse Manager in the Oncology and Medical Outpatients Department

The best thing about being a nurse for Cynthia is being trusted with the most intimate moments in life and witnessing the fragility, strength and diversity of humankind.

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Therese Manning - Clinical Nurse Manager, Taranaki Base Hospital Emergency Department

Therese loves being able to support her team helping patients who come into ED, often at the most vulnerable times of their lives, and making their journey a bit easier.

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Alex Keegan - Trauma Clinical Nurse Specialist and Emergency Department Flow Coordinator

Alex helps patients who have suffered injury, minimal or life threatening, as a result of an event such as a car accident, recreational activities, sports or falls. “I love my work, looking after patients. It’s so rewarding seeing their journey from start to finish in the hospital. And the team I work with always makes it a great time at work, no matter how busy we are.”

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Nicky Lumb - Associate Clinical Nurse Manager Cardiology and Respiratory Department

In the 30 years Nicky’s been a nurse she’s worked in CCU, recovery, haemodialysis, ICU, ED, maternity, and as a nurse educator and an undergraduate nursing tutor. She’s had many memorable experiences along the way, good and bad, but she says there’s always something to learn from all of them – and each time she starts a new job she think that’s the highlight of her career.
“Being a nurse is part of who I am – it’s very rewarding.”

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Dr Brad Ellington - Emergency Department Specialist

“Hi, I’m Dr Brad Ellington. As an emergency consultant physician I work scheduled shifts in the Emergency Department (ED) taking care of acutely ill or injured patients. The thing that attracted me to emergency medicine was the team-oriented environment, which is especially prevalent here at Taranaki DHB.

My family and I moved to New Plymouth from the United States without ever having visited the New Zealand. We’ve found the people at Taranaki DHB and in the community extremely welcoming and friendly, and with the sea and the mountain so close, the area has all the outdoor activities my young family could need.”

Dr Dave Grant - Senior House Officer

“Hi, I am Dr Dave Grant and I'm a senior house officer at Taranaki Base Hospital. I’d never planned to live and work in New Plymouth, however after a placement at Taranaki DHB as a student I was sold. Working as a junior doctor and now a senior house officer, I have found Taranaki DHB to be a rewarding learning environment with not only great training and career advancement opportunities, but also a really friendly and diverse staff group.”

Dr Nigel Henderson – Consultant General Surgeon

“Kia ora, I’m Dr Nigel Henderson, a consultant general surgeon at Taranaki DHB. Every day I am excited to come to work because my role is varied and I know with every surgery I’m making a positive difference in my patients’ lives.

I had worked in Taranaki as a registrar and a house surgeon so I knew the environment and the region. I fell in love with the place and to be quite honest, work is work, you can do it anywhere, but the region is what drew me back.”

Sophie Munro – Occupational Therapist

“Hi, I’m Sophie Munro. What drew me to occupational therapy (OT) was the idea of helping patients gain independence after an injury or illness and watching them improve over time. I received a Taranaki DHB Scholarship which jumpstarted my career and confirmed for me that OT was the career I wanted to pursue.

Working in a regional DHB has allowed me to learn more than I think I would at a metropolitan
 DHB, as I’ve been able work with a huge variety of conditions rather having to become specialised in a particular area right from the start.  Taranaki DHB has modern facilities and equipment and a really tight knit community that offers plenty of support and encouragement.”

Maggie Radich – Dietitian

“Hello, I’m Maggie Radich and I work as a clinical dietician. My role involves work at the hospital and in GP practices with patients who suffer from diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
As a dietitian, treating patients means working collectively with a range other health professionals to ensure the best outcomes for patients. Working in this team environment has been priceless in my career as it has enabled me to learn a lot from my colleagues, and I receive heaps of support in my work and professional development.”

Tawera Trinder – Midwife

Hi there, I’m Tawera Trinder and I’m a midwife at Taranaki DHB. My path to midwifery was slightly different to others as I was 10 years out of high school when I enrolled in my University course. I’d had a great connection with my midwife throughout my own pregnancies. I’d also attended the birth of a friend’s baby and was really inspired by the connection she had with her Māori midwife.

I was supported financially during my studies through Taranaki DHB’s scholarship programme. It’s fantastic being able to work with my people; I’m proud to be a role model for rangatahi looking to get into health care in Taranaki.”

Last updated: Thursday, December 2, 2021

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