Hinga atu he tētē kura, ara mai he tētē kura

26 October 2022
2.98 Min Read

By NZSAwebadmin
Hinga atu he tētē kura, ara mai he tētē kuraMain Image

October 2022

In 2016 I felt fortunate and humbled to be offered the deputy trainee representative position on the NZ Society of Anaesthetists Executive. In some ways, it was a baptism by fire –learning acronyms, wrapping my head around politics and portfolios, and marvelling at the compendium of institutional knowledge stored effortlessly in the brains of executive members like Kaye Ottaway, Mark Featherston, Malcolm Stuart and Ted Hughes. It became quickly apparent how the NZSA touched every corner of NZ Anaesthesia. For an organisation that had seemed peripheral to me as a trainee, the constant buzz of submissions, education, advocacy and meetings was surprising. How did I not know the society did so much?

In 2018 as a new SMO I acquired the Assistant to the Anaesthetist portfolio, beginning my tutelage in the political side of the society’s work. Working alongside sector leaders through both the resurgence and immense success of the Registered Nurse Assistant to the Anaesthetist (RNAA) courses, and the passionately persuaded AUT Bachelor qualification for Anaesthetic Technicians. These carefully negotiated changes brought both challenges and immense reward. How lucky are we, as anaesthetists and consumers in Aotearoa, to have such a fiercely high standard for our Anaesthetic Assistants.

Then in 2019 I acquired the Obstetric portfolio, stepping into the collaborative community of the National Obstetric Anaesthetic Leads network (NOA) – one of four networks and committees shared with ANZCA, amongst five independently run by the NZSA. Overnight I had a hive of trusted obstetric anaesthetic colleagues across the motu sitting in my pocket to share, and to connect with. To debate complex cases, to share policy and protocol, to unite and advocate for our patients – all with the power of the Society behind us. I continue to be thankful for these networks, particularly during the pandemic, and believe they offer immense value to anaesthesia in Aotearoa.

Dotted across these years in my time on the executive committee have been three NZSA presidents: Dr David Kibblewhite, Dr Kathryn Hagen and Dr Sheila Hart. Each President bringing their own influence and style to the role and impact on their term of presidency – from quiet and diligent background work to passionate and fierce advocacy. All three, and the many presidents before them, have been unified by their professionalism and passion for the Society and the crucial role it plays in advocating for its members and the anaesthetic community in this country.

Then now, in 2022, I step into the presidency role myself. The enormity of this role doesn’t escape me. The shoes to fill left by Sheila Hart and the long proud line of hardworking anaesthetists before her. The trust instilled in the executive team by our ever-growing membership. The partnership with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tangata whenua.

The journey ahead is exciting. Our strategic vision for 2023–2027 highlights our commitment to the pillars of the society: advocacy, community, and education. We will act as a strong, independent voice in conversations with Te Whatu Ora. We are prioritising Te Tiriti o Waitangi, working with a true partnership and equity model from governance to service delivery and throughout all advocacy and engagement. We also seek to add new value for our membership, with a 2023 focus on patient education resources that utilise our networks and connections, enabling us to walk alongside our patients in the perioperative journey.

Hinga atu he tētē kura, ara mai he tētē kura. As one presidency ends, another begins. Thank you to Sheila Hart for your incredible mahi. And thank you to the executive and membership for the immense honour of this role. Let’s do this.