Imagine planning out every day for five children - packing lunches, driving to school, picking them up, cooking dinner, helping with homework and the rest.

Now imagine that, but in between you are working a full time job while also studying for a five-year course at Massey University.

One Whanganui mother doesn't need to imagine it, she lived it and on Wednesday May 15 in Palmerston North, Amy Hina graduated with a Master of Nursing.

Hina, 34, also gained a prescribing right, which means that as well as diagnosing and treating patients, she can prescribe them medication from a select list.

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"I'm the first in Whanganui general practice to do this type of prescribing, although one or two now have a nurse practitioner and that's a level up," Hina says.

"I didn't want to go to graduation at first, but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed it and there were so many people there just as excited as I was."

Hina works at Te Oranganui Medical Centre on Campbell St where she is the practice nurse team leader.

She was hired to work there in 2012 after completing a nursing course at UCOL in Whanganui and continued to do so while completing her degree.

Gaining qualifications was a big deal for Hina, who dropped out of Whanganui Girls' College when she was 14.

"It wasn't because I was getting into trouble, I was good at school, it just didn't fit with me. I was quite head strong and determined," Hina says.

"I got work with Lee Matson in the shearing sheds. He was really supportive during my studies. Doing that work gave me good life skills and a good work ethic."

Hina spent 13 years working as a rouseabout and decided to make a change after about a decade.

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She had many reasons for wanting to get into healthcare and one of them was whanau (family). Her mother Sue Hina is a registered nurse in Whanganui.

Her father Chris Hina was also a big inspiration.

"I lost my father in 2011 to a heart attack. He was only 55," Hina says.

"I'd just graduated from nursing when I lost him, so coming into an iwi organisation probably gave me more of a drive to make a difference for Māori."

Hina is a part of Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa Iwi and her Māori roots heavily influence not only her career, but her life.

During her time at Te Oranganui, Hina identified a lack of Māori healthcare workers and says that is what put her on the path to getting her Masters.

"There are not enough Māori doctors. I wanted to be able to do something to service our community and our iwi better.

"More Māori nurses are coming through now, so that's really exciting. It's about inspiring and encouraging them to continue on and look for other aspirations."

Hina's other motivating factors are her own children, 11-year-old Pipiana, Tiehutia Te Wai, 6, Kiritopa, 4, Maahaki Toi Ora, 2, and Wairangatuhi, 12 weeks.

She had given birth twice when her nursing journey began and despite being a single mother now, got a lot of support from her children's father and his family.

Hina says juggling raising kids with working and studying definitely had its hard times.

"I look at it as if you never have enough time. It doesn't matter whether you have one child, two children or however many. It's always hard.

"I wanted to show my kids that they can do what they want to do. And also, don't think if you didn't finish school that you can't do anything in your life. You can."