Professor Jenny Carryer MNZM (2000) has again been honoured in the 2020 New Year honours with a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to health, particularly nursing.
And she says she's not finished yet.
"I really have no idea why I went nursing in the first place but have had no regrets because it is a career that can take many many different forms and allows people to choose where they think they can make the biggest difference."
Domiciled in Palmerston North, Prof Carryer said she has had a long interest in the long-term conditions of chronic illness and the development and establishment of the nurse practitioner role in New Zealand.
"There are many such conditions but especially we think about diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases along with mental health problems.
"We understand this more and more as frequently being the result of the social determinants of health and exacerbated by poverty and poor access to primary healthcare.
"It's much the same across multiple countries and fuels my passion to see the support and onging development of high quality primary health care services, that is, the ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom."
She said nurses now worked right across the spectrum of health services, from leading services to community-based primary healthcare to bedside nursing in hospitals.
A central feature of nursing was a focus on people as individual and supporting people to live as well as possible whatever their circumstances.
"Maximising health and wellbeing," she emphasised.
Cyclists line up in January for fifth cycle race in Manawatū
"In the last 20 years there has been a rapid expansion in advanced practice roles supported by postgraduate education.
"Nursing still has huge untapped potential to make a real difference to the challenges currently facing the health system.
"There are now more and more nurses practicing at a level and range of service we could not have imagined 50 years ago."
Prof Carryer said her goal is to work towards the health system finally understanding that instead of considering nursing as a cost to be kept pruned, it is seen as the resource which with proper investment holds a key to "transforming what we are able to offer people".
She is Professor of Nursing at Massey University's School of Nursing and has been executive director of the College of Nurses Aotearoa for 27 years.
In 2010, she became the chair of the National Nursing Organisations Leadership group and was chair of the Health Workforce New Zealand's Nursing Workforce Advisory Group from 2015 to 2019.
She has been a member of other organisations and groups including the Primary Health Advisory Council to the Ministry of Health, the Expert Nursing Advisory Group on primary health care development, and the Primary Health Organisation Development Taskforce.
She has been a visiting Professor and Honorary faculty member of Yale University and has held adjunct positions, research positions, visiting scholar positions or consortium membership with the Universities of Maastricht (Netherlands), Alberta (Canada), the University of Technology Sydney, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.