International Year of the Nurse & Midwife 2020 – meet another one of our magnificent nurses, Mati!
A member of the New Zealand Pacific Medical Association team who assisted on the ground in Samoa during the measles epidemic says the experience will stay with her forever.
Grateful that nursing gave her the opportunity to help her homeland during a time of great need, Samoan born and bred Hawke's Bay DHB acute surgical nurse, Mati Lakshman, always knew nursing was going to be her chosen career.
"I always wanted to be a nurse, as soon as I could train, I was there," she said, speaking of her time learning on the job in Samoa before retraining in New Zealand through EIT to become NZ Nursing Council accredited.
"I spent many years hospice nursing and that was very special. Patients so appreciate you spending time with them and making that special connection when they are at their most vulnerable and unwell.
"You meet some amazing people with wonderful inspiring stories. I treasure that."
Having lived in New Zealand since her mid-twenties, Mati returns home to Samoa regularly to visit family and says her recent deployment in January to offer nursing support in Samoa during the measles epidemic will have a lasting impact on her career.
"I went with an open mind, I just didn't know what to expect. I reconnected with a lot of people I had initially trained with in Samoa and on my first day of duty I was so shocked and overwhelmed with the conditions of the patients. I couldn't contain my emotions... patients were so unwell and I could see the sadness on their faces. The local doctors and the staff were very grateful and appreciated our skills and expertise to help, but it made me realise how fortunate we are in New Zealand to have the resources at hand that we do."
Mati says patient-centred nursing is where her heart will forever be.
"I don't want to be stuck in an office or doing paperwork, I'm most happy when I'm caring for patients. It's the human contact that makes me want to jump out of bed and come to work each day - it really touches my heart.
"Nursing is not just a job, it has to come from the heart. It's a passion," she said.