Keri Ratima 

College News
29 March 2019

Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Mātaatua te waka. Ko Mokomoko te tipuna. Ko Opape te kainga. Greetings! I’m a descendant of Chief Mokomoko, from the Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) where I live and work. I have 2 sons and 7 mokopuna (so far!). 

'Cum Scientia Caritas' our motto, as you know meaning 'with knowledge, compassion' can be a foundation for us.

I strive for excellence in all I do, and for the last two years I’ve been studying palliative medicine at Cardiff University – the knowledge side of 'Cum Scientia Caritas'. It was very exciting last year to get distinction in 2 of my 3 modules (and very hard!). One of the things I have enjoyed about working part-time as the Medical Officer at Hospice EBOP is that as an organisation it aspires to work to a holistic model of care. Me mirirmiri hoki te wairua me ngā whatumanawa o te tangata: spirituality, emotions and the whānau are just as important as good symptom management. This aligns with a Māori worldview, and with my own beliefs and values.

Compassion in palliative care services is core to service as is communication and teamwork. These are the values and skills which can make all of our work easier and more enjoyable.

In terms of compassion and being the medical ‘caregiver’ there is an extensive body of literature on compassion fatigue. It makes sense that if we look after ourselves and each other we can be compassionate to those who come to see us. It’s interesting now with the addition to the Hippocratic Oath that the next generation of medical practitioners are swearing to give priority to their own health. 

Te Akoranga a Māui (Māori representative group) and the Pacific chapter members have given me so much support over the years. I hope that each of you will find the support that you need from Te Whare Tohu o Aotearoa (the RNZCGP), whether it is from the rural chapter, your Faculty or the relationships you have developed with your peers over the years.

I’m a vocationally registered GP since 2001 working in general practices in Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua, and more recently in Te Kaha, Ōpōtiki and Murupara. I’ve had all sorts of jobs including working on GPEP1, as an advisor to Government and in the Public Health Service.

General practice left me feeling that I wanted to understand more about the health of populations and population groups, so I did a Fellowship in Public Health Medicine. Now I’m exploring the interface between palliative care and public health. Compassionate communities is a groundswell movement worldwide, gaining some momentum in Aotearoa (NZ). It aims to grow compassionate communities that work together supporting people to live and die well.

I’m standing as I want to help Te Whare Tohu Rata o Aotearoa achieve our visions including health equity (e.g. He Ihu Waka, He Ihu Whenua, He Ihu Tangata) and our mission while maintaining our compassion and growing compassion within our communities.

Mauri Ora!          Vitality to us all!