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Samantha Hoyle

Samantha Hoyle is the School Nurse as part of the School Based Health Services at Massey High School in Auckland.

samantha hoyle 1What do you do on an average work day? 
I have two main roles. In the health centre we have a walk-in clinic and we see a variety of issues - anything from cold/flu symptoms, accidents, sexual health and mental health issues. We are generally busy all day with an ongoing stream of students wanting to be seen.

The other role is to do health assessments on Year 9 students, which includes a Medical and HEEADSSSS assessment (This stands for Home, Education/Employment Eating, Activities, Drugs/Alcohol, Sexuality, Spirituality, Suicide/Mood, and Safety). This information helps us to find the strengths and challenges with the student and come up with a plan, which may be as basic as linking up with a sports team, or can be complicated such as referring to Child Youth & Family or mental health services.

We have a doctor who does a morning clinic twice a week and we book students in who either have difficulty accessing their own doctor or they may prefer our doctor to deal with their contraception. The school also has guidance counselors, a physio and visiting alcohol and drug counselors to provide better access to health services.

What did you study at school? And after high school? 
At school I studied a range of subjects - Agriculture and Horticulture (by correspondence), Human Biology (which I loved), Art, History, Classics and Geography. I was an average student and found applying myself to study outside the classroom a real struggle. I was active with sports year round though.  I managed to just pass which gave me University Entrance at the time.

After school I joined the Navy as a medic and did my medical training with them, however it was not transferable to the ‘civilian’ world. After three and a half years in the navy, at the age of 21 I went to university to study for a Bachelor in Health Science (Nursing) through Auckland University of Technology.

I am always upskilling my education, which has to be at least 20 hours per year. I also added a Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) through Massey University.

I have worked in lots of different areas and each job gives you a new set of skills and experiences.

Was your study directly related to what you do now? 
Human Biology was definitely related to nursing and I also did alright with the Agriculture and Horticulture paper which was science-based. It wasn’t until I was a medic in the Navy for a few years that I decided that nursing was something I wanted to do.

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now? 
Think about deep down what kind of person are they, what their personality is like, what do they enjoy and what subjects are easy to understand and come naturally to them. This will lead the direction to what to study and what direction to start in. Remember, it may become clearer later on, you shouldn't be afraid to move direction if it feels right. Just starting on the journey of study is a great achievement. Generally study is hard work, so it's better to be in a subject you enjoy and are interested in, than not. Getting experience out in the real world is a real eye opener and can make the future direction clearer.

What are some of your career highlights so far? 
Highlights generally have been small victories, getting letters of appreciation, sorting out really risky situations and stepping up to challenges. Being told you have made a difference in someone’s life for the better is the ultimate reward. There are some sad things that have happened too, but there is some respect and dignity with dealing with the dying and death. Washing a dead body is a humbling and grounding experience. You really do get a sense of humanity and what is important in life.

Currently in my role at the school I enjoy case managing the heath of some “behavioural” students, who may have had a lack of healthcare or undiagnosed conditions, and linking them into proper care is a great achievement. Even organising hearing aids and reading glasses can make an enormous difference for these students’ educational prospects. I really enjoy working in a team environment when we all have the interest of the student in the centre and we all play our part to assist the student and family in different ways.

Why do you believe engaging in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) – whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is important to New Zealand? 
STEM is just so important, it’s our future! New Zealanders can help New Zealanders and expand to the world too. We have great minds and talent here, and a freedom to ask questions and find unique solutions.

Why is is important to have more women working in STEM? 
Often the area of STEM is male dominated. Gender diversity is a positive thing, different perspectives give a better and wider understanding of the same topic. I think it is limiting to be too dominated by a particular gender.

Samantha Hoyle is the School Nurse as part of the School Based Health Services at Massey High School in Auckland.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM. 
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