It takes a village: The diversity of caring

Lady, Mum’s nurse originally from the Philppines

For those of you following my blogs, you will know that I am ensconced in New Zealand, looking after my Mother. After almost three weeks of dictated bed rest and delays due to the fallout from the cyber-attack, a long weekend, and a nurse’s strike, Mum finally underwent cardiac bypass surgery this week. Whilst the past 3 weeks have been difficult with the seemingly endless waiting and frustrating delays, there have been the ever-present sunbeams, moments of lightness from people that care. From the medical team, the nursing staff, the allied health team, the admin team, the cleaners, and tea ladies, without exception everyone has been a blessing to a difficult situation. Always forthcoming with a smile, a kind word, a funny story or a clear, kind and comprehensive explanation. We have experienced the truly empathetic human face of healthcare.

New Zealand today is very different from the country that I grew up in. Society used to be largely Bi-cultural. Pakehas, Maori and Islanders, and a smattering of other ethnicities. Nowhere is the change in diversity reflected so keenly than in the Public Health system. Literally, a roll call of the United Nations across every area of care, with folk coming to New Zealand to seek a better life. Better pay, working conditions, more opportunities, and a largely well-supported health system. As in Australia, in New Zealand, there is much negative rhetoric around the responsiveness and the level of care in public hospitals. Until we take a moment to speak to others who have had experiences of what life is like in other countries as health professionals, we have little concept of how difficult it must be to offer high-quality care when health systems are not adequately resourced. It seems to me that this is all “relative” and that we have much to be grateful for. The nursing staff here have recently been on strike, asking for pay increases and more funding for nursing positions to reduce the workload. I wonder how much monetary compensation is enough to reward them for the care that they provide. I am not sure that it will ever be enough.

Every day this dedicated team come to the hospital to do their jobs. On the wall in one of the wards is a list of values.

It is possible that they do not know that the values are there and if asked, are probably not able to tell me what they are. But every day these values are alive in the hospital. Why? Because the people working there are human beings engaged in a caring profession- and that is what they do! There is no doubt that everyone we have encountered at The Waikato Hospital has “People at Heart”.

This blog is dedicated to all of the staff in Emergency, CC1 and Ward 14 at the Waikato Hospital. Thank you!

Dianna Howell Certmgr MIML MAPA

June 2021

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