Book launch pays tribute to nurses and midwives

The Society of Private Nurses and Midwives has commissioned a book to pay tribute to the work of nurses and midwives in Samoa.

The 155-page publication was launched at the Tanoa Hotel last Friday and coincided with the launching of the society and its constitution.

The Society also celebrated the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Aptly titled “O Tausi Soifua” [the Nurse], the S.P.N.M. publication opens with a poem by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peseta Noumea Simi: “Nurse the Changes.” 

The Society’s constitutional objectives were also printed in the book: to pursue the “Health and Wellbeing” focused approach for strengthening and improving access to integrated people centred primary health care [P.H.C.] and health promotion [H.P.].

Furthermore, to advocate health promotion and primary health care principles as the Society’s contribution to community development in health.

“To ensure that S.P.N.M. works collaboratively and in partnership with relevant Community Groups, Government Ministries and Corporations, Private Sector Entities,” reads the publication.

According to the S.P.N.M. President, June Scanlan Lui, the event was also held in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. 

“This year-long effort is to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives globally and highlight their achievements in every sector, workplace or setting, where they are providing vital health services and care."

She acknowledged Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.), Tokelau Office, and United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Government of Samoa joint Women in Leadership Samoa Project W.I.L.S. 

The book dedicated pages to the life stories of nurses and midwives in Samoa, such as the nursing journey of Alamoeaia Taaseu who was employed by the Ministry of Health [M.O.H.] as a registered nurse and midwife for over 30 years.

“They were years of struggles and triumphs, tears and joy but more importantly the greatest learning and growth in my career,” she wrote.

She is now a private sector nurse and midwife with the same dedication and commitment in her profession.

“After three year decades of public service this new venture in the private sector is scary but most exciting.

“It took a lot of courage and fearless attitude to branch out into the business community and despite the challenges, the rewards are endless and it’s a decision I do not regret.

“For the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, I celebrate no matter where you work the passion and dedication to serve our people and our country and God remains the same.”

Confirming that the profession is not female dominated, male nurse Fauatea Henry Taylor also had his story told. 

“In a hysterically female-dominated profession, I am honored to be a male nurse exemplifying inclusion, strengthening the nursing profession, and improving the overall quality care for our diverse patient population,’ he states.

“For me, nursing is a life I didn’t choose; it chose me. I do not consider nursing to be my work; rather [its] my passion, even my life’s mission.

“When I think about all the patients and their loved ones I have served over the years, I may not remember all of them, and may not remember me. But I do know I gave a small piece of myself to them and they gave to me; and together we have created a rich and beautiful tapestry that serves as a reminder of the fundamental humanity inside all of us.”

Others who were featured included a piece by Fa’amanatu Nancy Tikeri, the daughter of registered nurse and midwife, Ululima Maka Tikeri.

“My life with a mother who is a nurse I can sum up with this Edwin C. Hofert quote, ‘ way back before she was born, God knew there was a need, so God picked her fertile heart and planted a caring seed, then he waited and he watched. Knowing before too long, the desire in her to help the others would continue to grow strong.’

“My mother hardly shared her day at work with us. But I was observant enough to know all that she does when she’s on duty. When she is not home at long periods of time, my father would send me with dinner for her and staff.

“I could never get her attention when I arrive as she’s busy attending to patients, a pregnant lady, a diabetes case, a heart problem patient, a checkup patient, a walk in, you name it.”

She told of how instead of going home, she would just sit at some corner of the hospital to pass time and wait for her to have a break for a chance to have a chat.

“That never happens so while attempting to go home I'll just sneak into whatever room she’s at and call out to her ‘Mom when are coming home!’, she would just throw whatever is near her and tell me to go home.

“We were inspired by her work and the impact it made for people’s lives."

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