Jeanette Adams-Schneider has worked for Plunket for the past 26 years. A trained Karitane Nurse, she’s part of the Plunket Community Karitane team in Wellington.
I’m often asked why I’ve worked for Plunket for so long. The answer is simple: I believe we can make a difference by educating and working in partnership with parents, supporting them to make the best start for their children.
My days can be quite varied, but here’s an example of one of them:
In the morning I made home visits to two families living in Housing New Zealand flats and apartment blocks in Wellington. The parents were new migrants, with no family members to support them in New Zealand.
Home visits are especially valuable for the many families who don’t have their own cars or ready access to transport. They also enable us to build trusting relationships with the families through role modelling with a flexible approach, acknowledging cultural differences and giving them support while they gain parenting skills.
In one of the homes the baby was sleeping in a cot by the parents’ bed. They’d taken down the cot side nearest to the bed, leaving a walking gap between the bed and the cot.
While they were aware of the risks of SUDI (sudden unexpected death of an infant) and didn’t want to co-sleep with their baby, they didn’t understand the dangers of this situation: that babies can roll at a young age.
I was able to demonstrate the importance of keeping equipment as it’s bought or as its assembly instructions illustrate. Language was a barrier, but not so much that we needed a phone interpreter, which I could have arranged if necessary.
In the afternoon I drove to Johnsonville to take a ‘Babies Beginning Foods’ education session. These talks take place monthly and are attended by parents, grandparents and babies.
My day can also include half-hourly clinic appointments, where I support parents with various aspects of parenting. I’m also involved in facilitating a PEPE (Parenting Education Programme) course called ‘Your Growing Baby’ for parents with babies in Wellington Hospital’s neonatal unit.