Malo e Lelei my name is Fakaanga Jr Mapa. I am from Nukunuku, Tongatapu.
What is your role as a Tongan Nurse
My role as a Tongan nurse is to provide care and assistance to patient and their families. As a fluent Tongan speaker this allows me to communicate more effectively to Tongan patients. This allows me to explain aspects such as medication changes and reasons for treatment, to ensure patients have a better understanding of their medical conditions.
Why did you choose nursing?
My mum has always been my motivation and inspiration. At one point she became ill and I took care of her. During this time, I saw the importance of patience and compassion when caring for a loved one. Although my mother has now passed, the experience of caring for her has given me the tools to do the same for my own family, patients and wider community.
What difference do you want to make in the career pathway that you are in? Especially as a Tongan male and a father?
Being a Tongan male, I am aware of the barriers Pacific men face when seeking help and I want to play my part in removing some. I hope to use the knowledge I have gained through my training and life to better the health outcomes of patients, their family and wider community. And like a lot of things, I know this starts at home. As a father I hope to lead by example and teach my children to stay healthy and look after, not only themselves, but others too. Our stoic culture and attitude prevent Pacific men from seeking prompt medical advice and treatment. I am a big advocate on this matter and hope to educate and encourage others that it is ok to struggle and ask for help. Living a healthy lifestyle will hopefully inspire and continue in future generations.
What is one tip for some who wants to pursue a career in midwifery or nursing especially males?
Pacific men are desperately needed in the health sector. By being treated by someone you can identify with, goes a long way. We as Pacific people have plenty to offer; our knowledge, experience, language and culture. Why not use these to help our people? So, if you want to pursue a career in health, be courageous and try it out. No doubt you will inspire others to follow.
As we say in Tonga ”Ai ke ke ma’u e loto’i Tonga” or me this means being brave and fulfilling my duties with love.