Photo left to right: Linda Xie, Sally Blair-Duff, Adele Ferguson, Ellie Sanson and Nicola Bleasel.
“When I saw the damage from Cyclone Gabrielle, all I could think was how I could help out,” said Adele Ferguson, a clinical nurse specialist at Whakatane Hospital.
“After the Whakaari tragedy we got so much help from other regions and it made such a difference for us in the hospital.
“So when the call for volunteers came out, I just wanted to give back,” said Adele, who volunteered to help in the Gisborne Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
More than 20 Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora staff have been deployed to Tairāwhiti since Cyclone Gabrielle, working in roles like nurses, doctors, health protection officers, recovery managers and medical officers of health.
Emergency Department nurses Nicola Bleasel and Ellie Sanson from New Plymouth and Auckland also left their families behind to join the Gisborne Hospital team.
“It was our first visit to Tairāwhiti and we have to say the team you have here at Gisborne Hospital is incredible.
“Everyone really came together and it was so good to see such a unified environment despite the devastation, which was sometimes at their own homes.”
Linda Xie, a nurse at Auckland Hospital, is working in ward 5 and since her daughter had recently left for university, she didn’t think twice about volunteering.
Charge nurse Sally Blair-Duff from Palmerston North has whānau in Hawke’s Bay but wanted to go where she was most needed.
“This has been a great opportunity to not only help on the ground, but also connect with other colleagues and get experience in another hospital.”
Lynsey Bartlett, Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services in Tairāwhiti said the assistance from colleagues across the country came at just the right time.
“Our staff have once again been amazing, working long hours, picking up extra shifts and being incredibly flexible,” she said.
“The volunteers have lifted the wairua of our teams, and in many areas, have allowed for a much-needed rest after the initial response.
“The support from across the country has been much appreciated. It’s been great to see the different parts of this new organisation come together when we needed it most.”