Sign of the times

Mark Fellows can hear perfectly well but he can also hold an everyday conversation in sign language to communicate with people who have hearing problems.

A nurse in our busy Emergency Department, Mark is passionate about inspiring more people to learn New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), even encouraging his colleagues to follow in his footsteps and learn how to sign.

"In health we will always come across patients with different needs and we need to be able to help in those situations," says Mark.

His goal is to become an NZSL interpreter in a health care setting with a focus on improving access to emergency care for the deaf community.

"My interest in sign language started when I moved into a new house and wanted to communicate with my deaf neighbours.

"From there I studied NZSL for three years at the Auckland Deaf Society before heading to study the NZSL Interpreting Major at AUT, which I am doing now."

His experience learning sign language is something that Mark already puts to good use often helping people in his work.

"When a deaf person arrives at the Emergency Department we firstly engage a trained interpreter but when we can't access the appropriate service I am more than willing to help where I can use NZSL."

Mark wants to encourage all of our staff to learn New Zealand Sign Language so why not go ahead and give it a try!

New Zealand Sign Language Week was celebrated from 9 - 15 May 2022 with the goal of encouraging more people to learn sign language. ​

You can find out more information here.

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