Pacific nurses raise bar during Covid-19 pandemic

posted: 5:00 pm - 5th July 2020
29 June 2020 768x768

(Picture caption: Senior Nurse Abel Smith says Pacific nurses have raised the bar during Covid-19 pandemic.) 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Pacific nurses and helped them develop further knowledge of how to care for their community.

This is according to Nursing Director and member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Membership Board Abel Smith, who adds it is the first time we have had to experience a pandemic of this nature.

“We learned what our Pacific community needed during this time and how to care for them,” Abel, of Fijian descent, says.

“There were also a lot of personal lessons for nurses who had to balance work, home and family.

“It has shaped our practice approach as we had to make sure we took good care of ourselves so we could care for others professionally and safely.”

Despite New Zealand’s transition into alert level one, Pacific nurses continue to be extremely busy.

“Our nurses have been part of the care and service during all the alert levels and of course the focus was on Covid-19.

“Now, at level one, we are now focused on every other aspect of care for the Pacific community, especially during the winter season.”

Nurses are not only dealing with the physical wellness of their patients but also the emotional stress Covid-19 has placed on the community, including socio-economic issues like unemployment and housing.

“The socioeconomic issues are factors we have always had to face but because of Covid, these issues have been compounded.

“Our nurses are resilient and empathetic and have comforted our Pacific community during this time.”

The move down a level has not changed the cautionary approach nurses used throughout the lockdown period.

“We are not keeping our eye on the ball when it comes to Covid.

“It is still around, everything that we were expected to do during the lockdown, we are still maintaining.”  

The Pacific community has embraced the precautionary measures set by health authorities which has resulted in having the lowest infection rate of Covid-19 of any group in New Zealand.

This momentum needs to continue, despite the move to level one, Abel says.

“We have seen many within our Pacific community voluntarily going out to get tested for Covid-19 – this must continue, as well as the advice given by our health authorities.”

Abel is proud of the commitment and hard work shown by Pacific nurses during the pandemic.

“They bring with them their culture and the value of caring.

“We have seen them step up during Covid and that high-level commitment of care has continued.”