Akerita Alatimu – Pasifika Workforce Development Scholarship Recipient 2021

A value of service is what led second year nursing student, Akerita (Rita) Alatimu, to this career path.

“Nursing has always been on my agenda, where I saw myself going. The whole being who I am, and my dad being the Minister of our church, it kind of breeds a value of service which you carry into your everyday life,” Rita explains.

In addition to her nursing degree at Ara, Rita is also completing her Masters in Health Sciences having completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Otago in Forensic Science and Psychology.

She’s now on her first placement at Christchurch Hospital in the Cardio
Thoracic Unit. “I got the choice of where I wanted to go. I chose cardio thoracic because it’s a surgical ward so we get a day in surgery and a day in recovery. If you think about the heart as being the main battery then it makes sense to start there.”

While she’s enjoyed her time as a theatre nurse, that’s not necessarily where she wants her career to take her. “I did my undergraduate in forensic science and psych so I’m just waiting on my mental health placement. I’m
hoping that I can get into forensic mental health and to connect what I already know with the nursing pathway.”

Rita’s Samoan heritage and community play a big role in her education and career choices.

“I’m here to serve, I’m not here to be a standout person. I’m here as a worker bee. Half the reason why I went into nursing was to be able to serve my community in a different capacity. When people are in hospital they’re
at some of the lowest points of their life and it’s to work in the trenches with them and to hopefully see them come out.”

“Pacific people are prideful people. It’s important to be able to understand the feelings around their presentation in terms of their culture. Rather than how can I treat that immediate thing that they’re coming in with. Cultural understanding is something that we really need.”

Read the full December newsletter.