Orda Hui and Victoria Nofoaiga Hawke’s Bay Hospital Registered Nurses and midwifery undergraduate students

Improving cultural safety for Pacific and Asian whānau is a core driver for two Hawke’s Bay Hospital registered nurses’ decisions to study midwifery.

Balancing their Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s postnatal ward nursing roles with full-time Bachelor of Midwifery degrees is a fine art, but knowing it’s helping meet an important need makes it worth the effort for Orda Hui and Victoria Nofoaiga.

“We have more and more Asian families living in Hawke’s Bay, and there’s not many Asian nurses or midwives here in Hawke’s Bay,” says Orda, who was born in China.

Victoria, a New Zealand-born Samoan agrees, saying we have a national shortage of Pacific midwives despite the fast-growing Pacific population here.

“Knowing there are no Pacific midwives in Hawke’s Bay inspired me to explore this career and help meet the needs of the Pacific community.”

The pair  became “close mates” during their nursing studies at Eastern Institute of Technology. Both secured work at Hawke’s Bay Hospital after graduating, Orda in the postnatal ward, and Victoria first in the cardiology ward, then in the Pacific Health team. After enrolling in midwifery, Victoria applied to work in the Postnatal ward. “They were very welcoming.”

Te Whatu Ora is now funding them both to study the Bachelor of Midwifery at Te Pūkenga Wintec in Hamilton.

Orda and Victoria both believe it’s important for patients to see a familiar face and someone who can speak the same language.

“We can understand the medical words and provide more explanations,” Orda says.

Orda first studied nursing in Taiwan then worked for a year in China before moving here to achieve a greater work-life balance.

She adds having a midwife who understands cultural nuances is also important for patients.

“For example, a lot of midwives here will tell you to have a shower straight away but in Chinese medicine, women believe when a woman has just had a birth that’s the weakest time,” Orda says. “They have to keep themselves warm so they don’t get sick so they don’t like to have a shower straight away.”

Victoria says her partner encouraged her to study midwifery but Orda gave her the final nudge: “Someone had dropped out so Orda texted me, ‘Come on!’ so I enrolled.”

She also acknowledges the support of her parents.

“My parents came here from Samoa for a better future, and they instilled in us kids the importance of education.

“I hope my decision to do midwifery will encourage Pacific people to confidently seek maternal care and to think about this as a career.”

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