Sue loves her job after 40 years service

5 March 2018

Kylie, Sue and Kimberly Cranston

Sue Cranston with her daughters Kylie Dowding and Kimberley Cranston.

After 40 years dedicated service to nursing, many of those years spent supporting children and whānau in Tairāwhiti Sue Cranston still loves her job.

A highlight of Sue’s career has been working in Planet Sunshine and contributing to many improvements to the service. Sue is the Paediatric Quality and Education Coordinator. "I am passionate about improving the quality of care to our children and families and being able to contribute to making improvements for staff. I work with a great team of people who show respect, care and work well together."

She is known as the lady of the night in reference to her many years of service in Planet Sunshine as a senior night nurse whose calm and caring manner has kept mums, babies and her colleagues safe and reassured.

Sue trained at Christchurch Polytechnic. It was the second year of the “new “ way of training and there was only a choice of Wellington, Christchurch and a new school in Nelson. “I chose Christchurch, learnt to ski and met my husband Andy while down there! Because this was a new way to train nurses we felt we had to prove ourselves against the still active apprenticeship type training.” 

After graduating Sue worked for two years at Waikato Hospital in the surgical and then high dependency wards. “As soon as my two-year bonded period was completed, Andy and I headed off on our OE. We stayed for eight years. I worked in South Africa, London and in Cornwall. We would work for a while, then travel for a while. We visited so many countries including a five-month overland trip through Africa (a travel highlight). We also lived for a year in France.

When we finally returned to New Zealand I was 5 months pregnant. I got a temporary job in Paediatrics until just before Kylie was born. When a night shift job came up a few months later, I applied I have been ever since.” 

I have seen many changes in my time here that make a real difference to the people we care for. We now have different/better models of care, rapidly advancing technology and we work in partnership with whānau who are part of caring for their child. Parents can now stay with their child; homesickness used to be so difficult to deal with in the night. 

Nursing is now a highly qualified profession. Nurses need a Bachelor’s degree and postgraduate education is encouraged. We now have opportunities for nurses to become Nurse Practitioners and now Nurse Prescribers to make the most of their skills. 

“Taking on the quality then the education roles has been a highlight of my career. I am proud of the many improvements I have been a part of. Developing the play specialist service, creating a virtual tour of Planet Sunshine, pain management manuals, Paediatric Early Warning Score charts, entrance art are some of the things that come to mind. 

Sue Cranston's 40 years dedicated service to nursing and support of the children and whānau in Tairāwhiti was acknowledged recently by Nurses and Midwives of Tairāwhiti (NAMOT). Colleague Natasha Ashworth spoke about Sue’s dedication to other nurses. Sue is not just passionate about the children and whānau in Planet Sunshine but also her nursing colleagues. Sue has been a proponent of nurse education, encouraging nurses to gain postgraduate qualifications as well as organising local education sessions in pain management for the team and wider hospital group. Sue supports the new graduate nurses in their portfolio preparation and with their projects. As Sue is a portfolio assessor she also has the opportunity to encourage nurses across the DHB to work on the quality of their portfolios. This she does in a kind, professional and supportive manner, offering practical feedback and suggestions.

Sue is described as being a role model to all staff both new and old. She role models the WAKA values: showing whakarangatira with her quality work, awhi to nurses across the DHB, kotahitanga as she steps up to Clinical Nurse Manager in Deb McKay’s absence and aroha for the whanau in her care.

Thank you to Sue Cranston for 40 years dedicated service to nursing and support of the children and whanau in Tairawhiti.

Sue is pictured with her daughters Kylie Dowding and Kimberley Cranston.