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Friday 7 March 2014 3:01pm

Rachel Sanders 650Rachel Sanders, Master of Nursing Science

It's not often patient forms and paperwork inspire a person's career decision, but for Master of Nursing Science student Rachel Sanders, the clinical details on diagnostic laboratory forms sparked an ambition to know the reality behind the words.

“Straight out of high school, I got an internship working in the diagnostic labs at Christchurch Public Hospital. I had an amazing year in the labs, but I was always interested in the clinical details and wanted to know what was happening with the patients on the other side of the request forms.”

Going on to complete an Anatomy degree at Otago's Dunedin campus, Rachel kept her sights keenly on target.

“I loved my degree,” Rachel says, “so I took the Honours year and thoroughly enjoyed the research, except I wanted a more patient-focused career path. When I heard about the Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) I jumped at the opportunity.”


Rachel was in the first intake of students for the MNSc programme, and graduated at the end of 2017. She now works as a Registered Nurse in acute rehabilitation.

Based at Otago's Christchurch campus, the MNSc programme involves two years of course work including clinical placements (aged care, primary/community health care, mental health and acute care) and project research.

It was a busy schedule for Rachel, who also worked part time at the Canterbury Health Laboratories, but she said the challenging course was one she both loved and, at times, struggled with.

“The course far exceeded my expectations! I found it a lot harder than I expected, and tough at times, but there is a good mix of subjects. When it comes to the clinical work we had simulation labs every week that consolidated what we were learning in class. Nursing puts you in some really confronting situations and the simulation labs allowed us to begin developing some of the skills we would need in our careers. The labs ranged from learning how to give injections and care for wounds to having meaningful therapeutic conversations with patients.

“The staff are the most amazing part of the course, though. They come from so many broad and different backgrounds and have so much experience to offer. I really got the most out of my time with them, and am loving being part of the nursing workforce and putting everything I learned into practice.”

Find out more about the Master of Nursing Science

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