Discharges bring smiles in time of crisis

A twenty-six-year-old nurse, Lina Siaosi Kennach, who works in the maternity ward at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Moto'otua thinks that it's worth sharing positive news in this time of national crisis. 

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Mrs. Kennach said it's always encouraging for nurses to see their patients getting discharged from the hospital.

Despite the increasing death toll from the epidemic, a number of patients are also being discharged from the maternity ward with gratitude shared by patients and staff alike. 

According to the latest Government figures the total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,407. But of those 1,117 have been discharged.

"I think there's a lot of news about the people passing away from the measles but it'd be good to inform our people that people are also recovering and it's a good feeling for us nurses and for their families," she said.

The mother of three is one of the nurses in the Motootua Hospital working double shifts because of the epidemic.

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Despite the complaints they receive from members of the public most of the time, they still managed to put smiles on patient's faces. A positive "bedside manner" is part of their training. 

Mrs. Kennach's  highly varied list of responsibilities include cleaning the patients' bedrooms, monitoring their vital signs, especially the measles patients, and even being a counselor in times of sadness.

One of the factors taught in school of nursing according to the head nurse of the maternity ward, Robyn Roache Lui-Yen, is taking on the role of a counsellor. 

Ms. Roache said: “Sometimes you’ll have to [...] try and talk with them just to make them feel good and try to change their mindsets.”

Head Nurse and President of the Samoa Nurses Association, Solialofi Papalii, said nurses have to become like ministers.

"It's a thing we teach here in our system of nurses and I'm always checking on the nurses everyday to see how they're coping with the measles," she said.

For this reason, Mrs. Kennach is one of the nurses who rejoices in the role of counsellor. 

Though working extra hours steals her time from her family, especially her children, she's proud that another door to happiness has been opened amidst the epidemic's immense sadness. 

"This epidemic has given me experience and effort to become a committed nurse to may patients, my colleagues and my family despite that I barely have normal times at home with them," she said. 

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