Redundancy was a profound experience for Rochelle Pereiro, forcing her to think seriously about her future in a way she never had before.
"There's that moment when you freak out and then you think: 'well, what do I want to do and what do I like?' If you never question yourself then you never know. If I hadn't questioned myself at that moment then I might have stayed in an office job."
With a strong family background of service, Rochelle started to think about nursing. "It's not like I wanted to be a nurse all my life or anything like that," Rochelle says. "But I like people, it's a profession that offers a huge variety of work and nurses can go anywhere, travel anywhere. I'm a gypsy - I needed something that I could travel with."
Everyone Rochelle talked to loved nursing; her best friend who had just completed the Bachelor of Nursing; the nurses she chatted with on the bus; and the tutors at CPIT (now Tamesa Institute of Canterbury). "Without fail all of them said, 'just do it, there's heaps of different jobs that you can do and it's just worth it'. I thought: 'I want to be with them, they're cool'."
With her daughters grown up, the timing was right for studying. No one in Rochelle's
family had completed a tertiary qualification before and she liked the idea of being an example to others. Making the change to full time study wasn't easy though, she says.
"You have to be courageous, but there's heaps of help. Do what you have to do, see
what services are available and then it's up to you. All that support for getting Māori into health - Pasifika too - it's out there, you just have to get yourself involved."
Rochelle loved her degree programme and especially the clinical placements which gave her hands-on experience working in mental health, senior care, hospitals, in the community and at a 24-hour clinic. "You get heaps of clinical placement time and it just really consolidates what you've learned in your classes and tutorials."Now, having passed her state nursing exams and been accepted into a sought-after graduate programme, Rochelle's bright future has made every bit of effort worthwhile.