2016 NZGCF Award Recipient - Maria Stapleton

Maria trained and worked as a registered nurse (RN) in Palmerston North. In 1999, when her sons had grown, she embarked on further study; qualifying with a  Bachelor of Nursing; Graduate Certificate in Stomal Therapy Nursing; Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Nursing Practice with distinction and in 2010 she completed Master of Nursing degree  with distinction.

Maria is committed to improving patient care and experience, in 2010 she was recognised as the Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ) Inaugural Winner ‘Clinicians Challenge’ for the development of system tracking  a cancer journey;  in 2011 Maria was part of the Cancer Society team awarded the Write Mark ‘Plain English Award’ with a book “Bowel Cancer and Bowel Function.  Practical advice – Following treatment for Bowel Cancer” and in 2013 Maria co-authored an article “Cancer Care coordinators: what are they and what will they cost?” published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. 

Maria is the national and regional treasurer of Psychosocial Oncology New Zealand (PONZ) at both a national and regional level. PONZ aims to support & educate health professionals involved with delivering psychosocial care to those with cancer.

In 2013 Maria and her husband Nick Dangerfield moved to Tauranga where she took up a newly established Ministry of Health role, as a Cancer Nurse Coordinator. The role of Cancer Nurse Coordinator has allowed her to persue her passion of ensuring a holistic approach to nursing care; focusing on equitable, timely access to care for Gynaecological Cancer patients. In this  role Maria acts as single point of contact for women and their families across the Bay of Plenty region, ensuring that each woman has an understanding of the complex and sometimes overwhelming array of appointments and diagnostic tests leading to diagnosis and treatment of Gynaecological cancers  and also ensuring that psychosocial supports are available to support them . This Cancer Nurse Coordinator role demands a high level of knowledge and understanding of the Gynaecological pathway and effective relationships with health professionals across several District Health Boards.  Another important aspect of her work is to support the development and refinement of hospital systems to ensure women with Gynaecological cancer receive the best standard of care and ultimately experience the best possible outcomes.

On a personal level Maria has four sons and two stepsons. In her spare time she likes, connecting with family and friends, traveling, gardening, fishing, walking and enjoying the lifestyle the Bay of Plenty offers.