Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
NZNO, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa
The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence). In terms of Australia there is red dirt, heat, sand and surf. The slang is different, and Australian wildlife is something you can’t compare.
A nurse friend of mine recently returned from working on a short-term contract in Australia. When she first talked about going, the prospect of her leaving seemed far-fetched. I thought the “red tape” would be cumbersome and would surely cause delays. I was confident we could get in a few more lunches or as we refer to it: “space to catch our breath and talk”.
However, it was barely a week later when she confirmed that her tickets were booked, accommodation arranged, and she was off on her overseas experience. The process did not seem complicated at all.
Sitting there listening to her kōrero, I wait for her to catch her breath. I hear of all her experiences, new friends, colleagues and a healthier bank balance with a desire to return and do more.
This nurse has always been the warrior who would operate in stealth mode, doing what needs to be done, actioning things you won’t find in standing orders – and all done in stealth mode.
Nurses are often the people other health professionals take for granted. We personify the so-called “it takes a special kind to do the job”. Nursing requires more of the individual – and so we inherently bring more to the sector. Yet we don’t think about it; we do it because we can and therefore, we’re not valued for the evolved responsibilities.
The value of nursing continues to be challenged. In 2020 the International Council of Nurses theme: “The year of the nurse and midwife” was for the first time intended to profile the role of nurses, to showcase the invaluable asset of nursing while investigating the wealth of validity and expansion of the profession. But the pandemic dominated what should have been our time. Instead, every media outlet made like a virus, replicating the spread and destruction of Covid-19. Still the nurses went to war and did what they do best, silently dealing with the carnage, every now and again raising their voices only to be ignored.
So is it any wonder our nurses are leaving for other shores to experience new opportunities, to feel valued in their chosen area of expertise? We have to ask what it is going to take to abate the flow.
This whakataukī focuses on the importance of nurturing what matters to us. It’s about taking care of the things we hold dear to us so that they can thrive. If something in your life is not thriving, consider that you might not be giving it enough time, focus or attention.
The grass is only greener where you water it.
Kite kore ngā pūtake e makūkūngia e kore te rākau e tupu.
If the roots of the tree are not watered, the tree will never grow.