Starship nurse reading to a girl


If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that Nurses are absolute rockstars.

Day or night, our nation’s nurses work tirelessly to provide the sick, the injured, the lonely and the scared with the compassion, care and support they require to heal and recover. 

Today we take a moment to celebrate nurses across the globe, and interview Leilani, one of Starship’s rockstar Community Nurses.

What's your role at Starship?
I am a Clinical Charge Nurse in the Starship Community Service. We’re a multidisciplinary team who provide care to families within the Auckland DHB area. 

What made you decide to become a nurse? How long have you been a nurse with Starship?
I joined Starship as a New Graduate Nurse and have worked both within the hospital and community setting for 12 years. Nursing within the context of Starship Community provides me with a high level of work satisfaction. This arises from the reward of service to the community in which I live, and combines my interests in Maori and Pacific Health, Paediatrics, and Public Health.

What’s the difference between being a nurse based at Starship children’s hospital and a Community Nurse?
Many of us have worked in Starship Hospital and continue to support children during inpatient and outpatient visits. Working in the community, we have the privilege of seeing children in their own environments of wellbeing – at home, early childhood centres and at schools.

Alongside care of medically fragile children at home, we also see children under 5 years for Well Child | Tamariki Ora checks, school-based clinics and immunisations and a range of other nursing interventions aiming to keep children healthy and happy.


Starship nurse

What's your favourite thing/most special thing about being a Starship Community nurse?

Experiencing first-hand the bravery, resilience, happiness and laughter which comes with caring for infants, children and young people. Even through the challenges of a pandemic, these special moments make me smile each day.

What's something that would surprise people outside of the nursing profession about your role?
Our skills translate to adult care seamlessly and for some aspects particularly well. For instance, Starship Community Nurses (alongside other community child health nurses) delivered the first roll-out of the Covid vaccine to frontline workers. We worked within the airport, ports and managed isolation quarantine facilities to do this. Feedback suggests we are particularly gentle with giving injections (no doubt due to working with children) which resulted in reduced anxiety and pain. Happy outcomes! 

How have Mercury customer donations impacted the work you do?
Over the course of winter, Starship children’s hospital will see up to 15,000 pepe/infants, tamariki/children and rangatahi/young people who present with respiratory illness often caused by unhealthy homes. Rheumatic heart disease and chronic lung disease are two such examples of entirely preventable illness which require life-long medical intervention. The impact these diseases have on a child’s ability to thrive, learn, and enjoy growing up is substantial.

As Starship Community nurses, we see whānau following hospital discharge. We also observe the impact of returning to cold housing and how this leads to recurrent health problems for all the children living there.

Ensuring the family home is warm takes priority for the whānau we visit. It is heart-breaking to see children crowded into a single room to sleep without curtains and minimal bedding in order to keep each other warm.

That is why initiatives such as the Curtain Bank and Mercury’s warmer winter packs are so important. Curtains alone, ensure a house retains 38% more warmth. These resources provide an immediate solution which prevents repeat visits to the doctor, unnecessary medications as well as readmission to hospital. The effect of a comfortable night’s sleep in a warm home is life-changing for children.

On behalf of the Starship Community service, we offer our sincere gratitude for the generosity of Mercury and its customers which enable us to help those most in need.


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The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.