Otago Polytechnic
mothers day Valentina Powers 16 May 2006 CC BY 3.0

Supporting rural families

Being at home with an infant can be very isolated, especially for women in rural communities.

In the rural community of Tarras, mothers at home with children under five years old are extremely isolated. There is a playgroup organised by local women, but no other health or community services provided for mothers or infant children locally. Even the Plunket nurse does not visit, so that mothers have to take their infants to Wanaka or Cromwell for Plunket appointments.

Nursing students Mary-Jane Wennekes, Ellie Watts, Abby Robinson and Amber Priddle identified this isolation in their health needs assessment of the Tarras community. After undertaking online research, the students visited the community where they undertook a foot survey, interviewed prominent community members, and had discussions with other locals. This community research project was carried out under the supervision of Dr Jean Ross.

The students' conversations with the young mothers of Tarras led the students to take the following actions:

  • They set up a Facebook page @ruralmothersmattertoo to reduce the effects of isolation by providing a forum where the women could support one another;
  • They encouraged Plunket to engage with the Facebook page, and to have a nurse visit the Tarras community once a month to see these mothers; and
  • They sent a submission to Rural Women New Zealand, asking them to advocate for isolated mothers with Plunket.

Find out more about working with our Nursing students

Image credit: Valentina Powers, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

October 2018