International Nurses Day May  12th 2022

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12th, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Today we focus on ABI’s nurses and in particular profile ABI’s Brain Injury Nurse Specialists.

All of ABI’s nurses play an integral part of ABI’s leadership and rehabilitation service delivery. ABI has a team of almost 50 nurses who are so incredibly valued by ABI, clients, whānau and the wider rehabilitation team. The team have a wide range of experience, including enrolled nurses and registered nurses, new graduates, senior nurses and nurse specialists with many years of experience.

The nurses work in the community, at residential disability services, in the inpatient intensive service and in hospitals. ABI has strong leadership by nurses; CEO Dr Christine Howard-Brown has a nursing background, and another member of the Executive Leadership Team, Dr Angela Davenport completed her Doctorate in the area of rehabilitation nursing and is ABI’s Rehabilitation Nurse Advisor. ABI also has two Nursing Services Managers one in Auckland, and one in Wellington who lead and manage the nurse educators, nursing teams and rehab assistants. We work with nursing schools across New Zealand and offers student and graduate placements to try and grow interest in neuro-rehabilitation nursing.  

ABI is committed to advancing the specialty practice of rehabilitation nursing. Whilst there may be similar interventions that the rehabilitation nurses share with hospital nursing colleagues, viewing interactions with clients and whānau from a rehabilitation perspective is imperative. This is because the rehabilitation nurses focus is on supporting, coaching and assisting the client and whānau to adapt, self-manage and prepare for the next stage of their rehabilitation journey which for clients can be some month’s, even years into the future. 

ABI has introduced a number of innovative actions, in particular reviewing how to structurally endorse an integrated model of rehabilitation nursing, providing forums to enhance the nurses’ collective voice, and strengthening our leadership structure.

Dr Angela Davenport, ABI’s Rehabilitation Nurse Advisor manages the national team of Brain Injury Nurse Specialists. The Brain Injury Nurse Specialists are a small specialist team of 4 Nurses who all have a background in neuro nursing and working in hospitals. The nurse specialists are ABI team members but work their days in the acute wards supporting clients with moderate to severe TBI to transfer to ABI’s Intensive Rehabilitation Services either in Auckland or Wellington. The acute neuro wards see the nurse specialists as extended members of the hospital neuro team. The team cover DHB’s from Northland to Canterbury so are moving around the country and in and out of the neuroscience, neurosurgical and trauma wards. The nurse specialists are able to bridge the gap from hospital to rehab and support the acute team and whānau with information and education about the importance of early intensive rehabilitation and what to expect when at ABI. They are the whānau and DHB’s first point of contact for ABI and are strong advocates of rehabilitation.  

The Brain Injury Nurse Specialists love their job’s and the collaborative and supportive ABI team they work in.  Sian says one of the things she loves about her job is providing hope and future to a family at a bad time, Vicki loves the diverse environments she works in – the different hospitals and teams and being seen as part of the team in each of the hospitals she visit.  

When Louise was asked about the value of the Brain Injury Nurse Specialist this is what she said:

For families – I believe that meeting them in person in the hospitals builds rapport and trust.  I prefer to take the time to sit with them to find out more about the client, to get a good sense of who they are and what their life situation is that they would ultimately like to get back to. This is a difficult time when stress levels are high, usually their loved one has recently come out of ICU.  Having the time to meet with families and clients prior to admission to ABI helps to set some expectations about ABI, rehab and allow them to plan for the next step. For DHBs – having one person to send referrals through is really helpful. With knowledge of the ACC process, ABI processes and DHB processes we can quickly ask the right questions to get the ball rolling with a referral and support a seamless transfer.   I love that in this role I get to be part of both the acute hospital stage and the rehab stage, bridging the two. I don’t spend a lot of time at ABI, but it is pretty special to notice clients that had limited function in hospital, doing so well at ABI.

Happy International Nurses Day 2022 to all nurses. Kia pai te rā – have a great day!  Thank you to all ABI’s nurses, we truly appreciate your mahi, passion and expertise you bring in leading our ABI service, leading teams and most importantly supporting clients and whānau in their rehabilitation journey. Ka mau te wehi, you are all incredible!

If you a registered or enrolled nurse who is interested in working at ABI, please contact to find out more. We would love to hear from you!