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Purple House nurse one of HESTA Award finalists

Purple House nurse and HESTA Award finalist Sarah
Photo: Purple House nurse and HESTA Award finalist Sarah Brown (right)
A remote area nurse who transformed dialysis services for Aboriginal people in central Australia is one of 12 finalists announced for the 2017 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

Sarah Brown, a non-Indigenous nurse who was born in England and grew up in Queensland, helped establish the Alice Springs-based Western Desert Dialysis, known as Purple House.

Purple House provides renal dialysis six days a week, social support and allied health services, but it’s also a place that patients can call their own - and make bush medicine, cook damper and kangaroo tails on a camp fire, and organise hunting trips.
The Aboriginal community-controlled venture has 24 dialysis machines at 11 places, from Wanarn and Warburton in Western Australia to Yirrkala in Arnhem Land. It also has a mobile dialysis unit, the Purple Truck, which rolls out to visit other remote communities.

Now in its 11th year, the annual awards recognise the outstanding contribution of graduates, individuals and teams for their professionalism, innovation and care across a range of health settings.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said finalists were selected from an exceptional field of nominations, demonstrating the highest standards of care, ongoing commitment and innovative practices.

“This year’s finalists demonstrate the profound impact individuals and teams have on the communities they operate in and the patients they care for,” she said.

“Their dedication to providing outstanding patient care and implementing innovative initiatives that result in improvements in clinical practice and patient care is inspiring.”

Finalists for Nurse or Midwife of the Year include community health nurse Louise Beer, of Macedon Ranges Health at Gisborne, Nurse Unit Manager Angela Langdon, of St John of God Ballarat Hospital, credentialled diabetes educator Bernie Maynard, of The Lake Munmorah Doctors’ Surgery, and outreach caseload midwife Andrea Mirielle Mitchell, of Queensland Health North West Hospital and Health Service at Mount Isa.

The finalists for Outstanding Graduate are Kerry Georgiou of Monash Health, Rebecca Rich of Perth Clinic, and Angela Smith-Carroll of Peninsula Private Hospital.

Finalists for the Team Excellence Award include Gladstone Palliative Care Team at Gladstone Hospital, Memory Wellness of integratedliving Australia at Muswellbrook, The Mater (Sydney) Pre-admission Midwife Appointment Program at The Mater Hospital, and 2 West Nursing Unit at St John of God Ballarat Hospital.

Winners will be announced at the 2017 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards dinner in Brisbane on May 10.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords