Introducing Gemma, our first Nurse Practitioner

February 20, 2022

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are highly skilled autonomous health practitioners who have advanced education, clinical training and demonstrated competency. They have the legal authority to practice beyond the level of a registered nurse.

Nurse practitioners combine their advanced nursing knowledge and skills with diagnostic reasoning and therapeutic knowledge. They provide care for people with both common and complex conditions and can prescribe medication accordingly.

Many nurse practitioners work in primary care where, like general practitioners, they may be the lead health care provider for health consumers and their whānau. Some nurse practitioners own their own practice. Others work for district health boards, non-governmental organisations, or for Māori and iwi providers. Nurse practitioners are more likely to work in rural areas and in underserved communities.

There are now more than 300 skilled nurse practitioners working around New Zealand but there are very few in Auckland.

Although numbers are growing, people don't always understand what nurse practitioners do. They work alongside other members of the healthcare team and function in a similar way to a doctor.

In the future, as the number of GPs falls (due to a large percentage of them being on the cusp of retirement and inadequate numbers of doctors having been trained for decades) nurse practitioners are going to become key in providing primary care to communities.

We are delighted to introduce Gemma as our first nurse practitioner, and she will be joined very shortly by Pippa Baldie who is just finishing her training. Medplus is very proud that two of our nursing team have put in so much hard work to become nurse practitioners and to operate at the very top end of their scope. We have a fantastic group of nurses and encourage them all to follow their aspirations. No doubt others will be following in Gemma and Pippa's footsteps and will become specialised in their areas of interest or will become nurse prescribers or practitioners.

Nurse Practitioner Gemma Haefele

Gemma was born in South Africa and lived in the Middle East for 7 years prior to moving to Auckland, now considering New Zealand her home.

Gemma completed both her Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Nursing through Massey University. She has always worked in General Practice, specialising in this area because of her passion for preventative medicine, holistic care, and working in partnership with whanau and their communities.

Gemma has special interest areas of family and child health, management of long-term conditions (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, etc), as well as women's health and common skin conditions like eczema. Gemma has special training in dermatoscopy to review skin lesions, suturing, asthma and diabetes management. She has experience as the cold chain lead in managing vaccines and was our Nurse Lead before moving into her role as a Nurse Practitioner.

Living in Hobsonville Point, Gemma enjoys spending her spare time running, playing guitar and singing, reading and baking.

Gemma was mentored through her training by Dr Heidi MacRae initially and then Dr Michele Hollis when Heidi became ill. We are closely connected by her tutors at Massey and Professor Karen Hoare speaks very highly of Gemma and her abilities.

We are confident that Gemma will provide superb medical care to her patients, she is very diligent, conscientious, and compassionate. It is cheaper to visit a Nurse Practitioner than a GP, so it is a very cost-effective option. Gemma spends 5 days a week as a Nurse Practitioner at Medplus Lake Road. Gemma's books are open and you can choose to enrol with her as your preferred health care provider.


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