Aotearoa’s beautiful scenery and greater career opportunities are what brought Bijaya Khundrakpam to New Zealand.
About six months ago Bijaya moved from Manipur in Northeast India, where she had completed a Master of Nursing and worked as nurse for seven years.
She graduated Enliven’s Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) and is now working as a registered nurse at Kandahar Home in Masterton.
The programme helps return to practice nurses and internationally qualified nurses build on existing knowledge and skills to practice competently, confidently, and independently within the New Zealand health sector.
Bijaya wanted to make the move to New Zealand because she had heard it was a beautiful place and the career opportunities and pay were better.
She loves how supportive everyone has been.
“Our coordinator, she was very supportive. She guided us in every way, not only in the programme but also how to start a life in New Zealand. She was a great support.”
She also found it helpful that the culture of New Zealand, such as Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the New Zealand health system, was a big part of the programme as well.
The eight-week programme encompasses both theory and clinical components, allowing students to build knowledge, skills and competencies for professional nursing practice in New Zealand.
Understanding some of the kiwi slang was hard at first for Bijaya, but after a month or so she was finding it easier to pick things up.
Another cultural change was the concept of aged care itself. Bijaya says aged care facilities are not common in India, instead people stay at home and are looked after by family members.
So while she has several years nursing experience, working in an aged care facility is new to her.
“Almost every day I get to learn a lot of things. Not only about things in the facility but also the way we communicate with people outside the home. How to contact the hospital, how to transfer a patient, calling the on-call doctor.”
In her free time she likes to go out with her friends and walk down to the nearby Henley Lake, looking at all the different houses along the way.
She didn’t know anyone in New Zealand when she came here and received great support from those at Kandahar Home during her clinical placement.
She says this is a big reason why she wanted to stay on and work for Enliven at the home.
“The support that Kandahar gave me was of so much help to me. Most people went out of their way to help me when they came to know I didn’t have anybody here. I’ll always be thankful to Enliven and my colleagues.”