Nurses rally for top cause

Their career choice might seem at odds with their need for speed but racers Tarryn Cox and Angela Lloyd are just as passionate about becoming nurses.

Cox, who is a rally co-driver for her brother Sloan, has just finished her nursing studies at Waiariki Institute of Technology and has secured a job at Rotorua Hospital while Lloyd, who races off-road, has one year left to secure her three-year Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Their life stories are poles apart but the Rotorua pair share the same love of racing and both are in Waiariki Institute of Technology's Academy of Sport, gaining support and new skills to help them succeed in their chosen sport.

Cox, the daughter of a rally driver, has racing in the blood and has been co-driver for her brother since 2007, competing each year in New Zealand's rally championships. They are the youngest pair in the series and have achieved a couple of third overall placings. Sloan was junior champion for 2010 and his sister last year be came the first co-driver and first female to top the annual Elite Motorsport Academy course for promising young racers.

"I first got behind the wheel when I was 12 and then started co-driving for Sloan. I love the thrill of it and it's a high pressure environ ment but it's exciting stuff,'' says 22-year-old Cox.

"I feel very lucky that I have such a great relationship with my brother. We work really well together. Things just clicked with us right from the start when we paired up.''

In the future the Cox siblings want to go overseas to race but right now Sloan is in the market for a new co-driver as his sister concentrates on getting her nursing career off the ground.

"I need to focus on nursing for a while but will pick up the racing again when I can. The great thing about nursing is that I have skills I can take anywhere in the world so might be able to work as well as race when we do make it overseas.''

This past year has been one of high pressure for Cox who had to juggle her national rally championship commitments with her final year studies. Thankfully, in her role as co-driver she has mastered the art of reading in a car and was able to study during road trips to rally events.

She will work in Rotorua Hospital's surgical ward in the coming year and will take on post-graduate studies to further her nursing knowledge and skills. Cox was inspired to become a nurse after experiencing the care given to her mother and grandmother who went through breast cancer treatment at the same time.

"I love everything about it _ the interaction with patients, helping them through their journey to recovery; it's pretty cool.''

For Lloyd, becoming a nurse is the fulfilment of a lifetime dream which became possible when she left the UK after falling in love with New Zealand _ and a Kiwi bloke _ during a post-divorce holiday.

"I had always wanted to be a nurse but became a wife and mother ... I love people and have always been patient and understanding; I think nursing is just in me.''

Lloyd had also always been interested in rally driving and was hooked on racing when she was finally ``let loose'' behind the wheel, turning to Class 2 off-road racing with her stock car-racing partner John Gray.

"I love the speed and the adrenaline and the more mud and dirt, the better _ it's brilliant,''

Lloyd says, that sentiment a far cry from what she loves about nursing.

"People are at their most vulnerable in hospital and in some cases their dignity has been taken away; they are powerless in many ways. Nothing makes me happier than making them happy and making them feel cared for.''

When she finishes her nursing degree Lloyd wants to work in the mental health sector following a six-week placement at a child and adolescent mental health service in Whakatane.

"It's such a diverse field and I didn't realise how young some children have mental health issues and that there are so many contributing factors.''

With this year's nursing exams now over, she's training in preparation for the 2013 Taupo 1000 off-road race after coming 25th in her first race. She is already looking forward to it after taking this year off racing to focus on her nursing studies.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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