CEDUNA nurse Verna Newchurch has been honoured by Kidney Health Australia for her work with kidney dialysis with Ceduna District Health Services.
Verna was honoured was announced as a recipient of Kidney Health Australia’s Operation Angel Awards Program on World Kidney Day on March 8.
Verna said she has always wanted to be a nurse and had a lot of personal experience growing up in Esperance in Western Australia.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and I felt like one growing up, helping my mother to raise five kids,” she said.
Verna originally trained as a nurse in Perth and moved to Ceduna after marrying her husband, she has been married for the past 21 years.
Verna didn’t undertake kidney training until she saw a message on the notice board looking for nurses to be trained in dialysis, she was the only nurse to sign on.
Verna said she left Ceduna last year to train at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide under Dr Chris Russell.
“When I went to do my first day of training, Chris told me I was born to do dialysis,” she said.
Verna has become the first Aboriginal Enrolled Nurse to be trained in the dialysis course in Ceduna and she has been putting her skills and knowledge to good use working with the dialysis team and working with Aboriginal dialysis patients.
One in nine Australians over 25 have chronic kidney disease and more than 50 people across the country die each day due to kidney-related diseases.
According to latest figures, over 10,600 Australians are on dialysis and need the services of nurses like Verna Newchurch.
Verna said people need to learn more about their kidneys and live a healthy lifestyle to avoid kidney disease.
“To keep your kidneys healthy, do lots of exercise, eat a healthy, avoid too much fat or salt and don’t over consume alcohol,” she said.
“Many people don’t know they have kidney diseases until they noticed physical signs.”
Verna is committed to continue her work with dialysis and kidney health with Ceduna District Health Services.