50 Year Career Celebrated by NZ Nurse of the Year Award

From left to right: Carol Lee, Regional Clinical Manager; Tanya Bish, Metlifecare Clinical Director; Helen Cohen, Care Services Manager; Laurelin Okan, Business Development Manager.

After 50 years of nursing, Helen Cohen is named the New Zealand Nurse of the Year 2020 by Geneva Staffing.

“It’s still my passion even after all these years. I go home with my hand on heart knowing that I’ve done the best I can do. I love making a difference, says Helen.

The inaugural award by Geneva Staffing, New Zealand’s trusted experts in Temporary and Permanent Health staffing, recognises the dedication of nurses and midwives across the country during this challenging year. The award also commemorates the 200th birth year of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, and the World Health Organisation’s International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.  

Over her extensive 50 year career, Helen has supported countless people from all walks of life.

It’s not all about putting on bandages or taking blood pressure, it’s about listening and understanding people. Everybody is different,” says Helen. 

Helen has been Care Services Manager at Metlifecare’s Hillsborough Heights Village for the past 5 years. Her colleagues secretly nominated her for the award, so it was a complete surprise to Helen when she was announced as the winner.

Metlifecare Clinical Director, Tanya Bish, says

We are proud and fortunate to work with many amazing nurses. While Helen is no exception, I would describe her as exceptional. As we grapple with adapting to the new normal, nurses like Helen have continued to be there for not only our residents but also her nursing colleagues. Even I’ve been a recipient of her kindness.”

Helen’s winning nomination, which was selected by a panel of industry judges, read

“For Helen, nursing is about ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, no matter what. She would say she’s just doing her job. My words only scratch the surface of what she brings to this village, the residents, their families, the professionals associated with us, and staff.”

Chief Executive of Geneva Healthcare, Veronica Manion, also offered her congratulations to Helen.

She has had a profound impact on everyone whose lives she touches, not only because of her work but the immeasurable care she puts behind it. I started my career as a nurse, so I’ve experienced first-hand the extraordinary effort Nurses and Midwives give to their jobs.”

As part of the award, Helen also won an Air New Zealand Deluxe Mystery Break for two people, including return travel with Air New Zealand, a rental car waiting for them at the airport, and 4 or 5 star accommodation.

Helen offers her advice to aspiring nurses – 

“Be an active listener and never stop learning. We never know what’s happening in other people’s lives, so see what difference you can make and make that the best journey it can be,” says Helen.

About Geneva Staffing – Partner With Great People & Organisations

Geneva Staffing are trusted experts in Temporary and Permanent Health Staffing. Since 1996, we’ve been connecting Great People who bring their skills, experience and personality to Great Organisations.

We work closely with healthcare organisations from New Zealand and overseas as their preferred staffing partner, and nurture the next generation of health professionals to kick start their careers by offering them great opportunities before and after graduation.

Geneva has received multiple industry awards including being the only healthcare provider and staffing company to receive the 2018 YWCA Best Practice Compact Award for proving our commitment to equal pay and gender diversity within our organisation.