New Paper at SIT Focuses on Agricultural Healthcare
Publish Date: Wednesday, 31 March 2021
New Paper at SIT Focuses on Agricultural Healthcare

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) School of Nursing is excited to offer a unique opportunity to advance agricultural and rural healthcare as part of its postgraduate nursing curriculum in 2021, with the development and implementation of a new paper, HS-819 Agricultural Healthcare.


Programme Manager Cassie Carstensen from SIT School of Nursing said the development of the paper was instigated when SIT was approached by another tertiary education provider in the South Island to see if they could deliver the course.


She said in New Zealand there are few formal programmes which specifically address the concerns of healthcare in the agriculture and/or rural sector. The development of the paper was to address the noticeable gap in postgraduate teaching material, tailored to the rural sector and its specific needs.


It was designed for New Zealand Registered Healthcare professionals who work rurally, for example, those involved with district nursing, and it has broad applications in the primary industries – forestry, farming, fishing, vineyards and orchards, to name a few.


“With an emphasis on rural nursing, it’s in keeping with the current focus of the Ministry of Health to hone in on agricultural nursing and health”, she said. Paper Coordinator Karyn Madden reiterated working in the rural sector meant there are unique and specific health needs, and said the biggest issues are created through isolation, community diversity, how to meet differing needs, and specific occupational health and safety requirements for the primary industries.


“The fact that people are isolated plays a significant role”, she said.


She suggested the rural community is becoming more ethnically diverse, with increasing numbers of immigrants employed in the primary industries.


“For instance, this creates issues around health literacy, this then impacts on the individual, their family and the community”.


Rural workers are also subject to comprehensive Health and Safety requirements and legislation, specific to their sector.


Ms Madden said the paper content looks at critical issues around physical and mental health outcomes in rural communities of New Zealand, under the following topics: the impact on migrant workers, social and economic limitations, occupational health and safety, mental health assessment, pharmacology, pathological variances, physical health assessment – cancers, obesity, diabetes, physical trauma and agriculture safety, and communication technologies.


The paper aims to provide students with the educational environment to expand their new knowledge and skills within the rural context, engaging them to recognise health and safety concerns commonly encountered by the agriculture workforce, in order to gain a better understanding of common causes of disease, mental and physical illness and work-related injuries, which are seen to adversely affect health and wellbeing.


Rural healthcare professionals can utilise the information individually and apply it in a specialised capacity, depending on their healthcare-related environment.


As a primarily online course it can be studied from anywhere in NZ, making it possible for rural students to participate, regardless of their geographical isolation.


In completing HS-819 Agricultural Healthcare, students’ increased knowledge of the factors around the health and wellbeing will be focused on strategies to improve health outcomes for farming communities and the agricultural workforce.


The paper can be undertaken on its own as an interest or standalone paper, or it can be incorporated into a study programme, as part of a postgraduate qualification within the School of Nursing.


The dates for the online material delivery are: 26th, 27th July, 23rd , 24th August, 13th Sept and 18th October with the option of a face-to-face or online drop-in session on the 14th September, 2021.


Agricultural Healthcare starts second semester, applications closing date is June 12th. Enquiries are welcome, for any questions about this paper or any other papers in the SIT School of Nursing postgraduate programmes, please contact Programme Manager, Cassie Carstensen on or Paper Coordinator, Karyn Madden on