Mum of six who lived the gang life inspired by whānau's struggles to become a nurse

Dalyce Poulson is a woman that has faced tremendous adversity.

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Dalyce Poulson is using her challenging past for good as she secures a future for her family. Source: Te Karere

By Te Karere's Te Rina Kowhai 

She grew up with a father in jail, dropping out of school and becoming a teenage mother, she lived the gang life for a while.

However, the challenges of her past and nursing members of her whānau has shaped her future, as pursues her Master in Nursing qualification.

"Brought up around gangs and violence and abuse, I just went off the rails," she said.

"And then when I was 18, I moved to Auckland, I was pregnant, a teen mum and I just didn't want that life for my son, for my children, didn't want that lifestyle for them," the now 38-year-old said. 

Now a mother of six, it was the health woes of her youngest - he was put on life support while battling pneumonia - that promoted her to upskill.

"He got really sick and he was in Starship for six months," Dalyce said.

"I just saw the amazing job that the nurses did in there, in particularly saving my son's life.

"I wanted to be that, you know, for our people. But it took me back to when my grandmother was dying, on her last day she said to me 'you need to be a nurse', and I was so angry with her that I didn't want to be a nurse."

It's those memories that led her down the nursing path. 

"My grandmother passed away, she had cervical cancer, I nursed her in her end days. And then after she passed away my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, and so he was taken away from me, or that's how I see it and put in a rest home, leaving me to go back to my mum (at the age of 14), who was a struggling solo mum down in Waipukurau. So it was like it was meant to be, that my son was meant to be sick to remind me that my nanny is still there."

She is the first person in her whānau to graduate. 

"I've always wanted better for my children, for my tamariki, always wanted better. And I wanted to role model that for them. It's a hard one, a hard one, but anything is possible."