A Tauranga woman awarded a Queen's Service Order for her contribution to nursing has been elected the first full-time paid president of the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation.
Marion Guy, current member of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board and National Health Board, found out yesterday she was the elected president of the NZNO - the same organisation she received an Award of Honour for in September 2010.
"I'm elated really," she said.
"You know you go through a long process and you are never sure who's going to vote. But I'm really excited because it's given me the opportunity to give back some of my knowledge to the sector I've been in for 30 to 40 years."
The role would normally have been announced in September but the NZNO had changed from a rulebook governance to a constitution and legal proceedings, allowing for the change pushed the announcement out until yesterday.
Mrs Guy, wife of Tauranga City councillor Murray Guy, said the changes meant the role would be "very interesting" and the NZNO would be one of the few nursing organisations in the world with a full-time paid president.
"It should give me time to do things that I need to do and get out amongst nurses and advocate for and support them, and just be there to help them."
The NZNO has 46,000 members across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of nursing.
Despite needing to give up her job at the South City Medical Centre in Tauranga, Mrs Guy was looking forward to making some changes nationally. "Nurses seem to be in a situation where they just don't have enough time.
"I'd like to promote nursing as a profession that is well resourced and nurses are well valued for what they do.
"Nurses are not just in hospitals. I think the whole profession needs to be rejuvenated and we need to ensure nurses are respected and valued for what they do."
Mrs Guy has previously served the NZNO as president for two terms from 2003 to 2009 and was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for her contribution to nursing in the 2010 New Year's Honours list.