Mercy Making Dreams Come True
BY DI SNEDDON
These nurses have a dream to bring residential aged care back to their villages in the Solomon Islands. Mercy Services is helping them bring that dream to reality.
Based at Singleton’s Mercy Aged Care, Monica Wale, Alice Tara, Hellen Poloso and Melvina Tango are the first nurses from the Solomon Islands to be accepted to complete an Australian qualification under the Australian and Pacific Training Coalition.
Also treading new ground, the Mercy is the first Australian employee to engage nurses in the program and manager Leesa Bigham couldn’t be happier with her new recruits.
“They bring so much love and kindness to their roles, they are so compassionate and it has been an eye-opener for them and us,” Ms Bigham said.
Behind their huge smiles, is also a sense of bravery spurred on by a long-term dream to bring aged care to their home country.
The Solomon Islands doesn’t have aged care facilities or services and these four determined women want to eventually return to their villages and implement centre-based care for their elderly.
“For many they have older family members at home but they go to work and leave them alone all day so it is not safe and there is nothing for them to do,” Monica said.
“It would be my dream to be able to do something like this here (at the Mercy) for my home,” Alice said.
“We want to be more helpful for our elderly at our villages, that is what we plan for,” Hellen said.
Ms Bigham found out about the program at a conference at a time when she was struggling to find the right fit of staff to create the culture she wanted at the Mercy.
Before she knew it, Leesa was in Fiji interviewing candidates selected by the Solomon Islands to take part in the program.
The nurses arrived in Australia in March and were only here for a week before covid lockdowns.
They have left behind husbands and children who they miss very much but say their three-year training in Australia will bring many rewards to those they love most.
“One day, my daughter will say ‘You did that for me’,” Alice said.
Article written originally appeared in the Hunter River Times. Reprinted with permission.
Messages to: Leesa.Bigham@mercyservices.org.au