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Decades of dedication

11 Dec 2020

Pro­fes­sor Sabi­na Knight, Direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Rur­al and Remote Health at James Cook Uni­ver­si­ty, based in Mount Isa, is the 2020 recip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious Auro­ra Award from CRANAplus, the peak pro­fes­sion­al body for the remote and iso­lat­ed health workforce.

This award recog­nis­es an indi­vid­ual who has made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to remote health. This year’s awards focus on recog­nis­ing those who have respond­ed to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic in an excep­tion­al way.

Fed­er­al Region­al Health Min­is­ter, Mark Coul­ton pre­sent­ed the award vir­tu­al­ly via video to Sabi­na today. The award pre­sen­ta­tion is nor­mal­ly a high­light of the organisation’s annu­al con­fer­ence which did not occur this year because of the pandemic.

Sabi­na, who iden­ti­fies first and fore­most as a remote area nurse and health advo­cate, was appoint­ed as the CRANAplus rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Nation­al COVID-19 Clin­i­cal Evi­dence Taskforce.

Sabi­na has con­tributed to CRANA since its incep­tion in 1983, through it’s growth into CRANAplus in 2008, up to the present day. She was the first CRANA Vice Pres­i­dent, has held the posi­tion of Pres­i­dent sev­er­al times over the years, and has held a vari­ety of oth­er elect­ed roles.

Sabi­na recalls the ear­ly days of the organ­i­sa­tion when we lob­bied hard and strong to improve remote health and to improve the capa­bil­i­ty of the remote nurs­ing workforce.”

We will always be advo­cates for our com­mu­ni­ties, fam­i­lies and clients,” says Sabi­na, who points out that the found­ing CRANA phi­los­o­phy is as strong as ever, acknowl­edg­ing the impact of his­to­ry, under­pinned with respect for every individual.

The impor­tance of pro­vid­ing high qual­i­ty care goes beyond tech­ni­cal skills. Remote health work­ers need to be well edu­cat­ed, calm and col­le­gial, resilient, will­ing to go the extra mile,” she says.

The best and the worst of work­ing in remote areas do, in fact mir­ror each oth­er – clin­i­cal vari­ety, deal­ing with uncer­tain­ty, look­ing after peo­ple in the con­text of their fam­i­ly and place and fac­ing chal­leng­ing situations.”

Min­is­ter Coul­ton also vir­tu­al­ly pre­sent­ed this year’s Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award from CRANAplus to Dianne Thorn­ton, Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er at the Mallee Bor­der Health Cen­tre, where she pro­vides health ser­vices to sev­er­al small town” com­mu­ni­ties on either side of the Vic­to­ri­an and South Aus­tralian bor­der. This award has kind­ly been spon­sored by JCU-Cen­tre for Rur­al and Remote Health.

The 2020 Col­lab­o­ra­tive Team Award , kind­ly spon­sored by Remote Area Health Corps, was pre­sent­ed to the COVID-19 Response and Action Infor­ma­tion Group at the Top End Health Ser­vice, for pro­vid­ing an inno­v­a­tive approach to the deliv­ery of health care dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Team mem­bers are: Ruth Derkenne, Kel­ly Hosk­ing, Jane Thomas, Tra­cy Porter and Tere­sa De Santis.

Min­is­ter Coul­ton con­grat­u­lat­ed all of the award win­ners who have deliv­ered for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties in a chal­leng­ing year that has encom­passed fires, drought, floods and COVID-19.

It’s a tough job, and I am eter­nal­ly grate­ful for the con­tri­bu­tion you make every day to pro­vide excep­tion­al heath care ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties in rur­al and remote Aus­tralia,” Min­is­ter Coul­ton said.

I want to thank all the nurs­es who often go above and beyond the call of duty to care for rur­al and remote com­mu­ni­ties, this year has been par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing for rur­al Australia.”