Issue 3
Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Charles Darwin University
Master of Nursing student Marleen Manzini at Alice Springs campus library
Master of Nursing student Marleen Manzini at Alice Springs campus library

Global search for clues to help NT kidney patients

By Patrick Nelson

A strong work ethic and a commitment to family, studies and an Outback choir have seen Nursing graduate Marleen Manzini make great strides in life, since making Alice Springs home about a decade ago.

Marleen, a second-generation nurse from a Zimbabwean family who moved to the Red Centre in 2008, is on course to complete a Master of Nursing this year.

“With just two units to go I expect to finish this semester,” said the Alice Springs Hospital haemodialysis nurse who has been examining a behavioural medicine question of relevance to remote and regional kidney patients.

“My research looks at the best strategies for controlling adherence to fluid intake among chronic kidney disease patients receiving haemodialysis,” Marleen said.

“Not a lot of work has been done on this topic, but I am researching the literature to see what strategies may have been successful in places like the Philippines, USA, Japan and several European nations.

“Basically, I’m asking: is there something different that they do, which might help chronic kidney disease patients in our population?”

Marleen said that the higher rate of renal disease among Australia’s Indigenous people was partly due to genetics, partly due to lifestyle choices and partly because of other factors.

“Lower levels of health literacy, the vast distances between home and specialised treatment, and some cultural beliefs are recognised factors that contribute to higher rates of kidney failure.”

Just a few years ago, Marleen enrolled in Charles Darwin University’s Bachelor of Nursing.

“I did my practical training blocks in the Nursing Lab at Alice Springs campus with Robin Cross and Rebecca Gilmour.”

Outside of work, Marleen keeps busy as a chorister, as a make-up artist and with her young family.

“I have a deadly voice. I am one of 10 ladies in the Zimbabwe Ladies Choir who like to sing African songs at events in the community and on occasions such as Harmony Day,” she said.

“And in my spare time I practise make-up art, which I really enjoy.

“At home we have a five-year-old son, four chickens and two ducks,” she said.