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30-year Student Health career draws to close

Thursday 27 April 2017 11:49am

Retiring Student Health nurse Jan Prestidge.

"I like the students, I like the staff, I like the building – it's been a fabulous place to work," is how Jan Prestidge sums up her 30 enjoyable years working in Student Health at the University of Otago.

Mrs Prestidge joined the team in March 1987, one of three nurses serving 8,500 students out of premises in the Clocktower Building. By her departure, the team had grown to 11 nurses serving well over twice the number of students.

Mrs Prestidge’s nursing career actually spans 50 years, having been part of the class of '67 starting out at Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch.

"I've done all sorts of nursing," she says. "I ended up working in intensive care in Dunedin. That ended when I hurt my back lifting a big bag of potatoes and they told me I needed to find a different job."

In hindsight Mrs Prestidge has no regrets about the forced change of direction in her career.

"Students are very receptive. You get to help and educate them about their health."

"Students are very receptive," she explains. "You get to help and educate them about their health."

The role has changed surprisingly little over the years and they find themselves dealing with much the same issues as any general practice.

"Vaccinations, medicine repeats, sexual health, contraception and health education. What you would expect with this age group."

Mrs Prestidge plans to spend more time with family and friends, and there's a garden which could do with a bit of extra TLC.

"There's plenty to do - I'll never sit still."