Filipino nurses bring warmth to the lives of Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory

Filipino nurses bring warmth to the lives of Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory

How great is this! Big props to Harris, Justin, Murray and the Yuendumu mob for making this video for us about being a dialysis nurse. Great job eh?

Posted by The Purple House on Sunday, May 19, 2019

Video obtained from The Purple House Facebook page. 

The Purple House was founded in 2002, providing remote dialysis services for the Indigenous community in Alice Springs, Darwin and surrounding areas.

Participating in the program are the two dedicated Filipino nurses, Harris Lidasan and Justin Chaves.

Harris and Justin’s typical working day in the bush starts early as they prepare the machines, before picking up patients from their homes. Throughout the day, patients receive dialysis treatments along with two nutritious hot meals. Learn more by watching the video above!

filipino nursesPhoto obtained from Purple House Facebook page

From 2014 to 2018, there were more than 5000 Filipino registered nurses across Australia, and these nurses have contributed hugely to Australia’s healthcare system.

With a shortage of nurses in developed countries, the nursing industry skyrocketed in the Philippines, with many choosing to study this vocation because it gives them the opportunity to live and work abroad.

As Filipino nurses are trained by American standards and have a high proficiency in English, along with their dedicated and warm nature, Filipino nurses are highly favoured by many employers.

Serna Ladia from the Philippine Community Council of New South Wales (PCCNSW) shared her views on what it means to be a nurse.

“As a parent and seeing my (three) children become nurses, I always say to them it’s very fulfilling because they’re doing something for the good of the community,” she said.


Photo obtained from The Purple House Facebook page. 

Similarly, the Purple House’s mission is “to make all families well” and the support received by Filipino nurses in rural areas means so much to the people of the Northern Territory.

It is so rewarding to be a part of the great effort in keeping the patients at home, while maintaining their direct access to dialysis.

“Outside work, you can experience the world’s oldest culture, [and] you can also get a chance to see their important sacred sites,” Purple House nurse Harris commented.

Purple House was formed after the Pintupi people from the Western Desert of Central Australia had to leave their communities to receive treatment for end-stage renal failure in Alice Springs or Darwin. However, in having to travel so far from their communities, these people began to suffer from hardship and loneliness.

“In 2000, Papunya Tula artists from Walungurru and Kiwirrikurra developed four extraordinary collaborative paintings which were auctioned at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 11 November 2000, which along with a series of other work, raised over $1 million,” the Purple House website reads.

“That money started the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, now called Purple House, which developed a new model of care based around family, country and compassion.

Central Australia has gone from having the worst to best survival rates for dialysis in Australia. We are getting more and more patients back home so that families and culture can remain strong.

For more information about Purple House, visit HERE

For more information about Philippine Community Council of New South Wales, visit HERE

Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen is an editorial intern at CulturalPulse and is based in Sydney. Minh enjoys exploring other cultures, especially their food. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]