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Journals from Jan Term - NURS 298 Health Care in New Zealand

2013-02-01 The Four Walls

  The Lake District Health Board Hospital was rather interesting and much different compared to the United States. They focus primarily on the Maori culture but all cultures are welcomed. They truly try to make sure the Maori are comfortable in the hospital because they are the least likely to go in in an emergency. The Lake District Health Board Hospital is accommodating to their needs and spiritual beliefs. I think what they are doing is amazing. However, I do not think it could work in the States. We have so many different cultures and religious beliefs that making one hospital based on one religious aspect just would not work. There would be too much controversy. That is why in one hospital we will have many ways to help someone’s beliefs. 

The main reason why there are hospitals in New Zealand strictly for the Maori culture is to encourage them to get help if needed. In order to give them the best care, they need to use the term The Four Walls. Each wall has a different meaning and a helpful way to take care of the Maori or anyone of that matter. Each one is self-explanatory and together it is the best care to give. 

Taha kinengaro, or mental health and emotional well-being, covers many things. For example, in this hospital each bed had a spectacular view from their window. To be able to look out the window and see the beautiful scenery instead of something like a parking lot can go a long ways. Family members were even allowed to stay with their loved ones overnight. There was a separate building outside this hospital for family members who lived too far away to travel back and forth to their home and the hospital. The price was fairly reasonable too at only $40 a night. Little things like that can really help someone’s mental and emotional well-being. I am actually not entirely sure if the United States is good with this well-being state or not. I do not think they go to this level and I know it should be addressed more often.

Taha tinana is the next of the four walls. It means physical well-being. This includes making sure the person is healthy and OK. Healthcare professionals will do everything they possibly can to keep the patient healthy. The States does very well in this situation, if not better than New Zealand. The United States is more advanced in technology compared to New Zealand and can work faster in order to keep up with the patients' illness or injuries. 

Social well-being is also addressed and is called taha whanau. We were in the chemotherapy unit during our tour of the Lake District Health Board Hospital and the patients were all in a line of chairs with a curtain to use for privacy. This allowed patients to be able to talk to one another for support. From my understanding, America does the same too. However, in the States the nurses are “too busy” to communicate with their patients. They forget that simply asking ‘how are you?’ can really improve someone’s day, especially one who is ill. I think we could easily improve our social well-being in the United States. It will only take but a few minutes to ask a patient if they are doing well or start up a little conversation with them. I personally think it will better their health to know that someone else truly cares about them.

Last, but certainly not least, is taha wairua. That means spiritual well-being. It is amazing how much we lack this aspect in the States. There have been incidents where nurses completely skip the question about religion during assessments. It is rather sad, especially for the patients who are dying.

When I am a nurse, I want my patients to feel safe and comfortable around me. In order to do this I have to hit all of the four walls that New Zealand uses in their health system. This also allows my future patients to be able to trust me. More specifically, I want to ask my patients about any spiritual beliefs they may have. It is very important to some and I think it should be addressed more often and taken more seriously. I truly believe that religion could help with the way a person copes with something. I want to change the way other nurses think and make sure everyone has the opportunity to choose a spiritual belief if they have one.




Blake Hammond

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