Kimi Wi is a Registered Nurse with Te Rau Ora who shares her insights of working at the frontline during the COVID19 pandemic. It all started with a call out for assistance from colleagues to assist Te Whānau o Waipareia Trust to establish their Community-Based Assessment Clinic (CBAC) COVID19 testing station. The core work of Waipareira essential kaimahi and volunteers had already kicked into action and focused on providing hygiene packs, care and food packs with weekly phone calls.
As a Māori nurse, Kimi loved being part of an evolving setting to support whānau, with the aim of manaakitanga and for a return to a safer environment before the COVID19 world. Kimi had never practised in such as state of emergency like the COVID19 pandemic before. The context demanded caution.
I was blessed with already working for Te Rau Ora. I felt a little more educated, prepared, fit and healthy for the ‘unseen enemy’. I remained focused on what needed to be done as a Māori nurse.
Donning full personal protective equipment (PPE) was a major need in not just keeping Kimi physically safe but also her hinengaro. Kimi said “it was challenging working in an environment unable to touch, hold or comfort whānau physically”. Especially when whānau felt uncertain of their futures, their health, their jobs.
Though the PPE provided the assurance for physical protection, it has also prompted the real need to show compassion in other ways to whānau. The adaptability of the systems and colleagues was amazing as the Community-Based Assessment Clinic developed a drive-through respiratory and rheumatic fever assessment and treatment centre. Essentially it created a drive-through health care system! Where nurses could also hold more autonomy in their practice.
The increased contact among Māori nurses all working with common goals did feel like kotahitanga – “We’re all in this together, Keeping our whānau safe”. “It certainly makes me proud to be a Māori nurse”. “We need to continue to be at the frontline across all aspects of the health system into the future”—# EverywhānaushouldhaveaMāoriNurse.