HU­MANS OF KAITAIA Plea­sure in mak­ing a dif­fer­ence

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Neta Smith

My fa­ther is from Te Ha­pua and my mum is from Oturu. At age 30, my fa­ther suf­fered from a men­tal ill­ness. Usu­ally around the same time of the year, things would get dif­fi­cult. This had an im­pact on us as kids. It was my mother who brought all four of us chil­dren up, and she worked ex­tremely hard.

The one thing my mother taught me above all was to love, that no mat­ter what hap­pened, to re­mem­ber to show love. We had a pretty tough up­bring­ing, we had to do ev­ery­thing our­selves so I ap­pre­ci­ate the lit­tle things. I’m not a ma­te­ri­al­is­tic per­son — peo­ple and whanau are more im­por­tant to me than any­thing.

I am a nat­u­rally driven per­son. I’ve been in­volved in sports ever since I can re­mem­ber and I have a num­ber of sport­ing achieve­ments in all things from net­ball to squash, and triathlon (Iron Maori). I’ve al­ways been a leader ... the cap­tain of a net­ball team, or coach­ing and um­pir­ing net­ball at a young age. It was prob­a­bly the peo­ple around me too that kind of pushed me to­ward be­ing a leader.

When I was 18 my Nanny told me I had to be the marae trea­surer, so I was, be­cause she said, “you will”. Some 34 years later and I’m still trea­surer. I had other strong women such as Mil­lie Win­del­borne and Win­nie Larkins guid­ing me at a young age. Both women were re­ally in­flu­en­tial in my life, es­pe­cially in the early days of my nurs­ing ca­reer. I also think be­ing a leader is just part of my per­son­al­ity too; I’m a doer, though I’m not aca­demic by na­ture. Yes, I’ve com­pleted my nurs­ing stud­ies, and I have a post grad­u­ate Diploma in Ma¯ ori Busi­ness Man­age­ment, but those achieve­ments came from me writ­ing things down and work­ing re­ally hard, it wasn’t easy.

My jour­ney to be­com­ing a nurse started as soon as I left school, when I be­gan work­ing as a health­care as­sis­tant at the hos­pi­tal. Dur­ing this time I be­came preg­nant with my first child. When she was 18 months old I be­gan train­ing to be­come an en­rolled nurse in Whanga¯ rei. My baby came with me and I had won­der­ful sup­port from my wha¯ nau. Once I’d fin­ished I came back to Kaitaia, had my sec­ond child and worked in a range of roles in the hos­pi­tal.

In those days it was a very busy hos­pi­tal, there was a chil­dren’s ward, a big sur­gi­cal ward and a med­i­cal ward. With baby num­ber three on its way, I had the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete a two-year bridg­ing course. This meant more travel to Whanga¯ rei. Baby ar­rived in the mid­dle of it and this child was def­i­nitely my most dif­fi­cult. Sleep­less nights, work­ing part-time, be­ing a mum and still man­ag­ing to com­plete my as­sign­ments and de­liver pre­sen­ta­tions was chal­leng­ing, to say the least — the ul­ti­mate balanc­ing act. I thought “If I can do this, I can do any­thing!”

My friends would say I’m hard­work­ing, car­ing, giv­ing and def­i­nitely stub­born. They’d say I put peo­ple at the fore­front of ev­ery­thing I do. With ev­ery­thing I’m in­volved in with work, com­mu­nity, marae, fam­ily and sport, it’s dif­fi­cult try­ing to get the time out to take care of me. I’m not dis­cour­aged by this though, be­cause those other things are most im­por­tant. I lead by the val­ues of this or­gan­i­sa­tion, be­cause they are my val­ues as well, which is Peo­ple First, Re­spect, Car­ing, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Ex­cel­lence. Tak­ing on this role was cer­tainly not on my bucket list. Man­ag­ing a hu­man re­source is chal­leng­ing but I al­ways come back to those core val­ues to guide me in my de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

My hus­band sup­ports ev­ery­thing I do. While I was out help­ing oth­ers, he was do­ing all the sport­ing and school stuff with the kids. My five chil­dren are healthy, they’re happy, they’re all hard-work­ing and are out there do­ing what they love. This makes me in­cred­i­bly proud as their mother.

I love the work I do and the amaz­ing team I work with. Some­times we are crit­i­cised be­cause we don’t of­fer the same ser­vices of more equipped hos­pi­tals. One thing the com­mu­nity would agree on though, is that ev­ery­thing we do of­fer here at Kaitaia Hos­pi­tal, we do well. I’m re­ally ex­cited about the fu­ture of our hos­pi­tal, we are al­ways look­ing at what we are able to do next. If we can pro­vide ser­vices closer to home for our peo­ple and we can achieve that, then that re­ally ex­cites me.

Neta Smith is a nat­u­rally driven per­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.