Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

Katrina Coleman is triaging more than the nursing needs of some of New Zealand’s most disadvantaged families.

From preventing power disconnection to linking isolated families and advocating to move families into better housing, the 27-year-old nurse often goes above and beyond her role as a Plunket nurse, assessing children’s growth and development, to improve health outcomes.

Subscribe for FREE to the HealthTimes magazine

“There’s a huge aspect of social work involved in it - possibly some of the nurses before me would have said ‘this isn’t my job’,” she said.

“I truly believe I have a working relationship with the migrant families. I decided I was going to be ‘that’ person.”

Katrina has been awarded the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO) inaugural Young Nurse of the Year Award for demonstrating a commitment and passion to nursing beyond the daily expectations of a nurse.


Grade 1 Physiotherapist
St Vincent's Hospital
Disability Support Worker
Programmed Health Professionals

Katrina works with families from Somalia, Ethiopia, India, China, the Middle East, and some Maori and Pacific Islanders in Newtown, one of Wellington’s migrant centres.

Many families don’t speak English while some are illiterate, have no local connections and live in appalling conditions.

Katrina works to connect families with services, resources and with one another.

“I always knew when I started the role that it wasn’t just about building the relationship with families but with the broader community,” she said.

“In some cases, I’m the only NZ-European person they know, or the only person that can link them into the system.”

Earlier this year, Katrina worked with Plunket volunteers to launch a database to link women of the same culture, and after identifying a gap in the referral processes between services and Housing NZ, Katrina has worked with the organisation to prioritise housing for clients due to health and cultural reasons.

Amid concerns vulnerable clients were having their power disconnected, Katrina also developed criteria for at-risk families to prevent their power being cut, which is now being used to prevent disconnection.

The young nurse, who is also completing her Masters in Nursing, volunteers her time to assist Plunket volunteers in putting together free packages of essentials, such as woollen blankets, baby clothes and nutritional food, for high needs families.

NZNO nursing policy adviser and researcher Dr Jill Clendon said Katrina was awarded the accolade, out of a field of 17 nominations, for her outstanding commitment to her community.

“It was the project work she was doing on behalf of her community that went beyond her everyday work as a Plunket nurse that really stood out,” she said.

“We were very excited by the calibre of nominations. It is clear there are some extremely able young nurses out there doing exemplary work every day.”

Dr Clendon said the Young Nurse of the Year Award was the brain child of a group of nurses, aged under 30, who have been working with the organisation since 2012, following research into the needs of young nurses.

“The group were tasked with identifying projects that they believed would meet the needs of their peers and enhance recruitment and retention within the sector,” she said.

“I think that the fact this award has come about due to the work of a group of young nurses advocating for it to happen for their peers is also a very exciting aspect of the award.”


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500

Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords