Profile of a public health nurse: Corey Pia
Corey Pia (Ngapuhi) is a public health nurse working mostly with children from pre-schoolers to 18-year olds. He is based at The Pulse – a one-stop youth health centre where he has access to a number of participating agencies including Child, Youth and Family Service, Community Health Workers, a school for pregnant mums, a GP clinic and a Community Constable.
Programmes he is involved with include child immunisations (within a school-based programme), dental hygiene in kohanga reo and kindergartens, sexual health education for high school students, monthly injections for those with rheumatic fever, vision and hearing testing, well child checks and his weekly health clinics at Whangarei Boys High School.
Corey loves working in the community and says it’s incredibly rewarding watching kids develop from primary school children into wonderful young adults. There are times when you have to be tough but mostly you have to build trusting relationships so that people know they can rely on you.
He feels that as a male Maori public health nurse he is able to make a particular difference through his work at the high school where he can mentor boys and provide neutral, caring advice – especially around sexual health issues. He says being bilingual is a real asset for his work.
Corey works with other stakeholders including local iwi health providers, the
Asthma Society, the Cancer Society and primary health organisations. His dental hygiene education in local kohanga has been well supported by a manufacturer who supplied free toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children in the education sessions.
Corey has a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Diploma in Nursing. He was
working at Bay of Islands hospital when a friend encouraged him to follow
a public health nursing career and Corey says he’s never looked back.
“It’s important to keep up-to-date with training – that’s what I really like. We are encouraged to do that all the time. I’ve just finished BCG training (for tuberculosis (TB)). I’m really committed to making a difference with TB in the North”