Retired nurse stands by for COVID19 call

A retired 76-year-old nurse says she and others like her will be more than willing to step back in should the country need their services in response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Tofaga Lene Fiu, from Vaitele, was among three registered nurses who retired at the end of March and bid farewell by the Ministry of Health.

But with the country bracing for the global coronavirus, she said she would be ready if her country calls upon her.

Tofaga believes that despite her age, she will always be committed to her calling, something she has dedicated more than 50 years of her life.

“It’s been fifty eight years of serving our country but I never once regretted becoming a nurse despite the ups and downs,” she said.

“Our job comes with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of commitment. There were a lot of challenges but one of the main weapons I used to overcome anything was by staying committed and being honest. If you do those things, everything else will follow.”

From a young age, Tofaga said she had always wanted to be a nurse.

Her dream came true when she started 1962, working countless hours to help save lives. She used to catch the bus from Utualii to Motootua everyday.

For most of her working years, she was based at the main hospital in Motootua, Tupua Tamasese Meaole (T.T.M) hospital.

But she enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the community during visits to the rural areas where they treated children and provided care for members of the community there.

The wages for nurses wasn’t great, she admitted, but she said it was never about money. She also admitted that like any other job, nurses do make mistakes now and then.

She puts this down to fatigue, discouragement and sometimes negligence.

 “I know being a nurse requires a lot of strength but when one is negligent of her or his job, mistakes will follow,” she said.

She also said sometimes they raise their voice in a bid to try and challenge the patients to fight and look after themselves.

But she believes the best option to encourage a patient is by smiling and trying to be positive.

Looking back after all the years, Tofaga is retiring with a smile.

Asked what advice she has for young nurses, she said: “I was saved so many times from a mistake job because I prayed every morning before I started.

“At the end of the day when I finish, I always thank God.

 “Never forget that your calling is to become a nurse. You wouldn’t make it this far if God didn’t call you to save lives.”

As for the COVID19 response, she said she will wait for the Ministry of Health to call.



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