Donna May

Pre-admission Nurse

Donna joined Southern Cross in 2011 following a move to Wellington for family reasons. Having trained as an adult student, Donna previously worked for the District Health Board in Palmerston North.

What is the role of a pre-admission nurse?

“The patient’s journey begins with pre-admission. We assess each patient, and manage any issues that need to be addressed. It’s a collaborative role - we work closely with surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre staff and other colleagues to ensure an efficient flow-on effect for the patient.

“For example, recently we had a patient who did not wish to receive a blood transfusion for religious reasons. This was discussed with the anaesthetist and theatre staff, and we arranged in advance to have a cell saver booked for theatre.

“Being a nurse-based pre-assessment role, I get to make some important decisions at times. I love the fact that every day is a challenge, and I like the autonomy I have in my practice.”

What was it like to make a mid-career change?

“At the time I decided to train as a nurse, I had young children and I gave up a well-paying job. It was the most terrifying decision of my life!

“But I’ve never looked back. I can say every day that I love my work.”

What opportunities have you had at Southern Cross?

“Another part of my role that’s developed is managing the hospital’s contractual work with Wellington Hospital. I’m currently working in collaboration with Wellington Hospital to co-ordinate a large number of different contracts.

“This part of my role is exciting and challenging – and it’s helped me to build wider networks and knowledge within the Wellington health sector.”

Can you share an example of a patient journey?

“Everyone’s journey is special, but one case that stands out for me was of a young woman last year who underwent a major bowel resection. I took her to theatre and held her hand while she went to sleep. She later wrote me a lovely card which said ‘you told me this was just a speed bump in the road. I know what you mean now, because I have a second chance at life’.

“I was the first person she rang when she got the all-clear on her results. She will always be a special part of my life. That’s one of the privileges of nursing…we’re there throughout the journey.”