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Nursing skills add value to school trusteeship.

NURSING SKILLS have proved as useful in an education setting as the hospital environment, according to nurse and school trustee Trish Schoonderwoerd.

In addition to her work as a registered nurse at Whangarei's Kensington Hospital, Schoonderwoerd is in her fourth year as a board of trustees member for Tangiteroria School, a rural school between Whangarei and Dargaville.

The 2004 Trustee Elections are underway, with nominations currently being sought for about 20,000 candidates. They will stand for 13,000 board seats in about 2580 schools throughout the country. According to elections project manager Janet Kelly, the trustee elections are New Zealand's biggest democratic event.

Schoonderwoerd was elected onto the board in 1999 in a bi-election. She describes trusteeship as "a huge learning curve in terms of working out how the education system works", but says her nursing background has proved particularly useful.

"I've been able to bring some of the skills I've learnt in my own work into use when carrying out my work as a school trustee. For example, the people skills gained through nursing, and the knowledge of matters of law, such as privacy issues and health and safety matters, have been extremely valuable. Boards of trustees are responsible for a school's governance and vision, working with the principal and staff to achieve that vision."

Schoonderwoerd believes prospective trustees need an open mind and to remember the bigger picture--that trusteeship is about raising achievement for all the children in the school, as well as considering the relationship of the school with the community and as part of the education system as a whole.

Nominations for trustees opened on March 5 and close on March 19. Schools can choose when to hold their elections but most will hold them on April 2.
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Title Annotation:news and events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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