Kerry Ukena is a flight nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section). Born and raised in central Australia, the Flying Doctor has always been a big part of her community.
“Growing up, someone was always raising money for the doctor,” says Kerry. “The doctors, nurses and pilots were like royalty when the plane flew into town. Everyone would always pitch in and help when there was an emergency."
Ever since she was a young girl, Kerry wanted to be a nurse. As she grew older, her dream was to become a flight nurse for the RFDS. Hard work paid off, and Kerry is now employed full-time as a flight nurse in Dubbo.
"My role is unique and complex,” she says. “I am a critical care nurse as well as a midwife. I work a 12-hour shift transporting unwell to critically unwell patients to higher, more intensive care."
Kerry also works in administrative roles within the medical team to help keep everything running smoothly. She is a proud representative of the service. "When you're in uniform, there is always someone who wants to say thanks, or tell you their story,” she says. “No two days are ever the same; I have to be able to adapt to new situations and environments all the time."
In acknowledgement of Jean Hailes’ Women's Health Week, Kerry shared her best advice on women's health. "You can't look after others if you don’t first look after yourself,” she says. “On any given day, you will see me with a very full lunch box of healthy food because if you eat well, your body will reward you. Yoga is another health tip. I love to put on a yoga tutorial on Youtube at the end of a long day hunched over in the plane, so I can stretch and unwind my mind."