Growing up in South Korea, Yunhui Lee always wanted to work as a nurse and one day take her skills overseas.
Yunhui completed a Nursing degree at Yeungnam University College in South Korea. After seven years of working as medical and surgical nurse, she knew she was ready to head abroad.
Studying towards her New Zealand nursing registration at UCOL in Palmerston North appealed to Yunhui, as she wanted a quieter lifestyle. She also saw the city a good place to one day raise kids.
“One of my role models from South Korea worked at the Palmerston North Hospital after she graduated from UCOL. It’s a good place and I wanted to follow her path,” says Yunhui.
Yunhui enrolled in
UCOL’s Bachelor of Nursing and had parts of her previous study credited towards her degree under UCOL’s Recognition of Prior Learning regulations. This meant Yunhui completed her degree quicker.
Studying in a new country has its challenges, but Yunhui says UCOL staff gave her the support she needed to succeed.
“UCOL really understands a lot about international students’ backgrounds, and the stresses we have. For me, writing an essay is unusual because back in South Korea we don’t do that. I was really struggling, but the Learning Hub and International Student Support team helped me a lot.”
The classroom dynamic was also different to what Yunhui was used to, with more emphasis on students sharing their ideas and discussing what they’re learning. This took some practice, but with her lecturer’s help Yunhui felt confident to get involved in class discussions.
While working in South Korea, Yunhui didn’t encounter many patients from different countries, so she enjoyed learning about the cultural responsibilities of nurses in New Zealand.
“There are a lot of different languages and cultures, so nurses here need to know about caring for people from different cultures.”
Yunhui completed clinical placements at Arohanui Hospice and Palmerston North Hospital’s Oncology Ward and Older People's Acute Assessment and Liaison (OPAL) Unit. She really valued the opportunity to care for patients undergoing cancer treatments, as this was a new area of nursing for her.
Now working for Palmerston North Hospital’s Surgical Ward, Yunhui credits her experiences on placement with helping her land her job. There she prepares patients heading into surgery, cares for them post-surgery, and gets them ready to manage their daily activities once they’re discharged.
“I’m enjoying it. It’s always busy, which means I’m always learning a lot. I like the pressure and the challenge because it helps me develop,” says Yunhui.
After she’s gained enough experience in the surgical ward, Yunhui’s next goal is to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist.