Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Celebrating our nation’s nurses

New Zealand’s nurses were celebrated on International Nurses Day on Friday, recognising their immeasurable contribution to the wellbeing and health of the nation’s population.

Chief nursing officers from Te Whatu Ora, Manatū Hauora and Te Aka Whai Ora celebrated the day at Rāwene, Northland with nurses from Hauora Hokianga – a local provider of health services.

International Nurses Day is a time to celebrate alongside our global community and shines a light on the importance of our nurses in an Aotearoa context to address current inequities and improve health outcomes, says Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Nursing Officer, Nadine Gray.

“Everyone who has connected with our health system in Aotearoa has experienced the skilled care and manaakitanga our nursing workforce provide to whānau, around the clock, and wherever they are needed in the motu,” she said.

“[it is] a day for recognising and celebrating our nurses and their mahi. It is also a day to acknowledge nursing is both challenging and fulfilling work. Te Aka Whai Ora is working in partnership with Te Whatu Ora on initiatives to strengthen and support our nursing workforce, now and in the future.

It is a challenging time to be a nurse – not just in New Zealand, but worldwide, says Te Whatu Ora Interim Clinical Lead Nursing and Midwifery, Dale Oliff.

“While our vaccination efforts have stayed the potentially catastrophic impact of COVID-19, the ongoing impact of the disease has put unwelcome pressure on our existing health services.”

“Taking the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and translating into actions for the future will be key to nurses staying protected, respected and valued,” says Ms Oliff.

This year the Ministry took the opportunity to celebrate the important day in the Hokianga region to coincide with the graduation of 12 medical, nursing and midwifery students as part of the Takapau wānanga intern programme. These new graduates are now equipped to work with whanau with mental health challenges who are navigating the inequities of the health system.

“We look forward to celebrating this important day in other regions across Aotearoa in years to come,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Lorraine Hetaraka of Manatū Hauora, says with the health sector under pressure, nurses have never been more critical to the health and wellbeing of everyone in New Zealand.

“We do need more nurses, but it’s not enough to welcome new nurses from overseas. We need to support the existing workforce and also ensure graduates stay committed to profession long term,” says Ms Hetaraka.

“We need them to know that nursing is a fantastic and rewarding profession which is critical to communities across the motu.”

Ms Gray says New Zealand’s health workforce is also central to genuine change for Māori.

“Our vision is for a future where our nursing workforce better reflects Aotearoa’s diverse population and whānau can experience a health system that looks and feels like te ao Māori,” she said.

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