Five years ago, tyre industry worker Amjith Krishnanivas moved to New Zealand to join his wife who is a Registered Nurse, in Cromwell, Central Otago. He now has a new career in Nursing which he loves, and he achieved it by retraining at SIT.
Amjith hails from Kerala, a south-western state in India. He finished secondary school with Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology, then completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Physics from Mahatma Gandhi University, India.
He had quite a different career before moving to New Zealand but he explains how some of his former job influenced his decision to become a nurse. In his work as a production officer in a factory of India’s leading tyre manufacturer, Amjith’s role included being a certified internal auditor for ISO14001 OSHAS 18001(Occupational Safety Health Assessment Series), and ISO16949 (Quality Management Systems).
“I worked alongside the occupational health nurse to assist in arranging health screening and assessments (Spirometry, Audiometry, dental and eye checks etc.) Working closely with the industrial nurse/occupational health nurse, I realised it was a distinctive job and it attracted me – I wanted to learn more. I have always been a people person and sought to work with people”.
After working for nearly two years and settling into life in New Zealand, Amjith made the decision to study the Bachelor of Nursing at SIT, Invercargill.
“One day I noticed an advertisement on TV about Southern Institute of Technology, and I rang the office for information about study options. The astounding, friendly and welcoming nature of the staff prompted me to call in one day, and after a face-to-face conversation with SIT staff, it was clear that I could study the Bachelor of Nursing”.
“From my research I found that the quality of education in New Zealand is one of the best in the world and is well-recognised internationally”.
Amjith and his wife relocated to Invercargill so he could begin his study, and he worked as a care giver at a residential care home during his degree. He studied 2018-2020 and graduated in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Nursing.
Prior to starting his study Amjith had seen that SIT had a heritage of 40 years in Nursing programmes. “what more would I need to finalise the decision to start at SIT?”, he added.
Because of this, he did have a certain level of expectation about the programme and SIT campus life before he joined the course, and he wasn’t disappointed.
“To be honest, SIT has been wonderful in all aspects and I must say it exceeded all my expectations”, describing his degree course in one word - “fantastic!”
He found the tutors to be extremely supportive, super approachable, and had good, in-depth subject knowledge, he also thought the selection of learning objectives was good. And his opinion of the facilities - “the clinical suite is excellent and the Hololens Augmented Reality is an amazing futuristic tool to assist learning”.
Amjith engaged with all that campus life offered and utilised the facilities available for students - the café, the office and admin/support staff, library and 24-hour computer suite. He attended O-week, live music at Centre Stage theatre, cultural events from different countries at Hansen Hall, “STAND UP FOR SIT” campaign, and a lot more.
He loved the on-campus ambience at SIT, and said the following statement is absolutely true of his experiences there - “I never missed a smile from anyone at SIT, whether it was from staff/tutor/gardener or a student like me. The atmosphere is very considerate. It changed my way of thinking in a positive way. SIT instilled a lot more kindness and friendliness in me”.
He appreciated the supportive environment offered to students beyond the classroom, saying he and other student nurses were frequently updated about job vacancies during the course, with specific opportunities presented for male nursing students.
Even with a family, Amjith found the studying workable. He would come to class after dropping his son at pre-school. During lunch time he’d go to the café sometimes with friends to eat. He had plenty of chances to socialise and would catch up with friends in the class and other friends made outside the classroom through attending SIT events - “I call them campus friends of SIT!”.
“Networking allowed me to get in touch with other students from different cultures” he said.
For any self-directed learning, Amjith would spend time in the library and most days finished at 5.30 pm. He said the facilities - the library service, accessible computer suite and printer - helped a lot during the course.
He found the best aspects of SIT’s Nursing programme were the structured course/timetabled sessions and more face-to-face/in person sessions, than perhaps some other institutions which relied on online teaching. And of course, he especially valued the School of Nursing being supportive during one of the hardest times, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A special thanks to the School of Nursing, for giving me the opportunity to finish my studies”.
Amjith said the COVID-19 lockdown made things a bit hard. However, the School of Nursing managed it well in a very professional way.
“I and most of my friends personally received a phone call from our Programme Manager during the lockdown to ask how we were all coping with the situation”.
The high level of support continued as Amjith looked towards graduating and employment. His Programme Manager provided him with a reference and they continued to post any upcoming or available job vacancies on Blackboard, for the third-year BN students during their last clinical placement, to assist them in making the next step into employment.
Upon graduation, Amjith received more than one job offer and immediately found work as a nurse.
“...I got a call from a local aged care facility and they offered me a job, when I hadn’t even applied! The manager of the facility contacted me due to the fact I had been awarded the most outstanding student of Y3-BN from SIT and she wanted to offer me a position”.
Amjith finished his degree on a high note, by winning the CEN Award - the trophy is given to a third-year student who meets all the following criteria: The student who is considered by the year-3 teaching team, to have demonstrated excellence across all subjects taught at the 700-level of the Degree programme.
The SIT award helped Amjith gain his first job as a registered nurse, then after 6 weeks he was offered a Nurse Entering To Practice (NETP) position at Southern District Health Board (SDHB), in a medical ward at Southland Hospital.
“I grabbed the opportunity and now I am working as a Registered Nurse at Southland Hospital in Invercargill”.
Amjith is relishing his new role, he cares for patients who are acutely unwell with various conditions - neurological, respiratory, cardiac, renal and more. He’s continuing to learn about complex nursing procedures and attending study days to develop his practice.
He has already been actively recommending SIT to prospective students and encouraging them to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing, because from his experience he found the course to be well structured and the academic weight is balanced and well timetabled.
“The tutors are helpful and approachable, and they love what they are doing and are passionate about student progression in becoming a safe practising registered nurse”, he added.
“The reputation of the School of Nursing is fantastic in Invercargill, perhaps all over New Zealand. I hope SIT will remain a training ground for fabulous registered nurses as it has been doing for many years, well into the future”.
Amjith is committed to a career in Nursing and has long-term plans to progress in the sector.
“I would like to become a nurse specialist and then a nurse practitioner/prescriber. And I would love to teach nursing students as a nurse educator, part-time in the future”.