Never too late to begin nursing dream


Mehanaz Begum’s faith and beliefs are strong, and her childhood dreams of becoming a nurse are equally as strong.

As a happy house wife in Fiji, content with looking after her husband and three children, Mehanaz took the opportunity to follow her nursing dreams when she immigrated to New Zealand in 2007 with her family.

“Growing up I wanted to be a nurse but there was no opportunity for me then in Fiji. As a Muslim woman I couldn’t go away to live and study, so it wasn’t an option.”

With the blessing of her family, and a lot of free time on her hands since her children were grown, she studied a Bachelor of Nursing degree and completed it in 2015 thanks to the Bupa scholarship.

Working in care home laundry and as a caregiver gave Mehanaz the chance to experience working life, something she hadn’t had before.

After working at Gladys Mary Care Home in Napier for a time, Mehanaz is now a Senior Registered Nurse at St Andrews Care Home in Hamilton and says her 13 years at Bupa has made her a much more independent and caring nurse.

“I’ve learnt a lot and grown in my knowledge. Tertiary education was an eye opener for me, and so was the practical training in hospital.”

Even though Mehanaz praises the positive clinical advancements in aged care around connectedness to GPs and pharmacies, it’s the connections to her residents that matters most.

“I’m the primary nurse for a resident who is Sri Lankan, and so I’m respectful of her culture and beliefs. I get on really well with her and also her family,” she says.

Noting communication and confidence as keys to being an effective nurse, Mehanaz says above all it’s about being a nurse who believes in themselves.

“Once I was married I was already thinking it’s too late in life to try nursing. But I’m glad I gave it a chance, and I could only have had that chance in New Zealand and with the scholarship, it’s never too late.”