“I like to think that what I do is of value” says registered nurse Ann-Marie Ford when asked to comment on her chosen vocation.

And that is exactly what International Nurses Day (May 12) is all about, a day where we all can acknowledge and thank nurses for the great work they do.

“The theme for International Nurses Day this year is ‘Nurses: a force for change’, and here at Te Hiku Hauora, we certainly know that nurses are a force for change, in many ways and in many areas of health” says Mobile Nursing manager Angela Keung-Hobson.

“Our nurses are constantly working towards innovative solutions to improving health outcomes and responding to health need by establishing new services and reaching out to our community in new and inventive ways.”

Registered nurse Ann-Marie Ford is one such example of this.

Ann-Marie works within the Manaaki Manawa (Cardiac Rehabilitation) team and has been instrumental in strengthening their partnership between the DHB and Kaitaia Hospital through the facilitation of cardiac rehab classes.

These weekly information and education sessions cover the management and recovery from heart disease and are well attended by members of the Far North community.

“I’ve always had an interest in the heart” says Ann-Marie.

“I find it extremely satisfying to see people getting back to good health. To see patients recover from a heart attack and be back out mowing their lawns, it gives me a buzz.”

A mother of two, Ann-Marie trained as a nurse as a 17-year-old, and has worked for over 40 years in the field.

She says of her chosen field, “nursing was always an option for me. My mother had wanted to be a nurse so perhaps that gave me an extra nudge.”

During her career Ann-Marie has worked as a flight nurse, in accident and emergency departments, as a safety and emergency procedures instructor in aviation medicine, and within fertility and research.

“Nursing has provided me the opportunity to experience a lot of different areas. What I love about nursing are the opportunities, to learn and grow, and the variety. There’s never a dull moment.”

Her career has also allowed her to work and travel extensively.

“You’re never without a job as a nurse.”

Ann-Marie wholeheartedly agrees that nurses should be celebrated for the work they do.

“Nurses are definitely undervalued and worthy of celebration.”