Nursing is about caring and seeing God in the faces of who you nurse.
These are simple attributes that helped shape and characterise the life and profession of retired nurse and former president of the Fiji Nursing and Associates Credit Union, Mereani Tukana. She officiated in the union’s 40th anniversary celebration event on Saturday at the Fiji Muslim League hall in Suva.
So if you had to ask the question, what makes a nurse great, it’s as simple as saying ‘hello’.
“Saying hello and asking how are you doing and other simple things makes the patients feel better and more motivated to get better,” the 70-year-old of Nakelo, Tailevu, said.
“Nursing is basic skills and touch of one person to another… It is about caring for patients as your own. I always encourage the nurses to not lose the basic touch of caring.”
But it did not end there. During her time there were no hospital maids and helpers.
“Before we used to do all the cleaning and everything ourselves. We did the cleaning, broom and mop the walls and floors, talk to the patients, tidy their beds and other basic activities in the wards,” she said.
“I hope the nurses now will realise that nursing is not just the person but also the environment around the patients and themselves.”
Times have changed
As time moved on, things change and so did people. So it was no surprise for Ms Tukana for change was inevitable for the nursing profession. As she compared the work nurses did during her time and today one thing that differed was the introduction of new technology.
“Over the years, there has been a lot of new technology introduced in the field and I witness how nurses today are getting further away from the bedside; it makes me wonder if we will lose sight of the basic touch and caring.
“But I encourage and urge our nurses and nursing students today that they need to nurse from the heart and care for the patients as if they were their own.
“See God in the face of who you are nursing. It is not about the money or uniform, it is about caring from your heart,” Ms Tukana said.
Such passion comes with experience and all that was nurtured from a very young age, thanks to her grandfather.
“When I was young, we used to visit him often as he was very sick and I noticed how the nurses used to work,” she said.
“I was fascinated with the work the nurses did and it motivated me to become a nurse.
“I heard from him that while he was in the hospital, he was very well looked after by the nurses and that was what drove me to become a nurse.”
“I enrolled as a nurse in 1965 from the Central Nursing School. I qualified in 1967. I was lucky to have studied under the New Zealand class nurse,” she said.
“After graduation, we qualified and became sisters. Sisters then worked as supervisors. Unlike what is happening now, when the nurses qualify, they become staff nurses and get promoted on merit.
“My first posting was at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and then I was posted to Labasa Hospital where I joined the community health care work.
“I have always been a community health representative all my life. The only time I worked in the hospital was the initial few months in 1969 after graduation. I have always been with the people and the community on prevention of non-communicable diseases.”
By Ashna Kumar, Suva
Source: Fiji Sun
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