16 May 2022
When it comes to compassion and solicitude, it’s hard to go past Sophia and Vanessa Tang. Since emigrating from China over a decade ago, the twins have dedicated their lives to helping others – both training as nurses, and both specialising in the aged care sector.
Now valued staff members at Metlifecare (Vanessa is a nurse at Pinesong in Titirangi Village, and Sophia is Nurse Manager at the newly opened Edgewater Village care home in East Auckland), the sisters play a fundamental role in making every day a little better for Kiwi seniors and their families.
“There’s nothing we would rather be doing,” says Sophia. “Ever since we were little Vanessa and I have wanted to work in the medical field, inspired by our father who is a psychiatrist, and our grandmother who was a nurse. We’ve always been surrounded by people with those caring attributes.”
This empathy and bigheartedness is a common thread which runs through the DNA of the thousands of nurses New Zealanders will salute on May 12 as part of International Nurses Day. Working tirelessly to nurture, comfort and support others, the contributions Sophia, Vanessa and their fellow nurses make to society are second to none.
“When you’re out on the medical wards it’s the doctors who people respect, but actually it’s the nurses who spend all their time with the patients and get to know them. We’re responsible for providing that quality of care and it’s important that people recognise the value of that.”
It’s that burning desire to deliver top quality care that gets Sophia out of bed every morning.
“Aged care has improved so much in the last decade and my number one mission is to ensure that journey continues. Some people think care homes are dingy and depressing, but they’re not like that anymore – these days they’re modern, bright and homely places where residents are empowered to live the best lives they possibly can.
“We support residents to keep their hobbies and identity, and family and friends are always welcome. It’s such a relief for families to know their loved ones are safe and well cared for.”
Making a difference is tough work, but as Sophia points out, the rewards are immeasurable.
“I absolutely love working in aged care and I learn so much from our residents. Many of them are in their 80s while I’m only in my 30s – they have so much more life experience to share and they are all so interesting.”