Johanna Rhodes, Southern Institute of Technology, Head of School of Nursing and Mary McMillan, Paper Coordinator for the
Bachelor of Nursing Year Two, Professional Issues, and Year Three, Clinical Practicum in the mental health practice
settings were selected to make presentations at an international conference to be held in China this month.
The 7th Sino NZ Vocational Education and Training Model Symposium demonstrates the shared commitment between both New
Zealand and Chinese Ministries of Education, and showcases best practice in the delivery of vocational teaching.
Johanna and Mary put forward two abstracts for the symposium and felt very honoured and humbled to be invited to China
“We did not expect to be selected and were extremely humbled to get our acceptance email”, they said.
The pair embrace teaching pedagogies that reflect the ‘real world’, believing that they are critical to developing ‘work
ready’ graduates who are equipped to work in the intricate, and fluctuating world of health care.
They gave two presentations at the symposium. The first outlined the Southland Interprofessional Education Project in
collaboration with SIT’s School of Nursing, University of Otago and the Southern District Health Board at Southland
Hospital. Mary and Johanna developed and have run this project since 2014.
The development of the Interprofessional Education Programme came about due to the recognition that health professional
education happens in traditional silos. Mary and Johanna believe that health education training paradigms require the
acquisition of teamwork skills during clinical practice with the IPE programme providing an opportunity for students to
“Interprofessional team training by means of shared learning, active communication, team dynamics training, and
collaborative assessment and treatment planning can potentially improve the teamwork of health professional students”,
The second presentation was one that Johanna worked on with five inspiring third year Bachelor of Nursing students,
implementing a student mentorship programme. This programme aims to foster better communication and community between
students, reducing stress and anxiety, and essentially helping to improve a sense of belonging said Johanna.
“New students to SIT are invited to join the programme during orientation week. The mentorship programme leaders then
match the mentors and mentees.”
At the symposium, Johanna provided an insight into the implementation of the student-driven mentorship programme,
highlighting its value.
The symposium was held on October 14 and 15 October at the Qingdao Technical College.