Meet Nurse Rachael Mackinnon

Photo of Rachael Mackinnon

The Executive and Members of Port Macquarie Parkinson's Support Group are delighted to welcome Ms Rachael Mackinnon as our long-anticipated specialist Neurological Nurse-Educator.

The importance of such a nurse is due to the chronic shortage of Neurological Specialists in regional and rural NSW. Until now, people in Port Macquarie had to travel to Newcastle or Sydney for specialist services. This is a serious impediment to effective treatment.

Rachael was raised in the Walcha area before moving to Sydney. After many years of study, clinical practice and teaching in Australia and Britain, especially in the field of Neurology and Parkinson's Disease, Rachael was most recently working at St. Vincent's Hospital and teaching at Sydney University of Technology. She has now has been appointed to the brand-new position in Port Macquarie.

Rachael is now one of four specialist Parkinson's nurses working in regional NSW, and her role has been pioneered by similarly qualified nurses working in Coffs Harbour and in The Illawarra.

Rachael's role will comprise many elements, including:

  • providing direct support to people living with Parkinson's (PLWP) - in their homes or in hospital as required,
  • liaison between PLWP and their Neurological Specialists,
  • educating regional medical and allied health professionals about PD,
  • conducting research into the effects, social impact and progression of PD in this region,
  • coordinating with Mid North Coast Area Health District and Parkinson's NSW, and with other specialist PD nurses in the State.

Port Macquarie Parkinson's Support Group has been working for more than six years, with the strong support of local MP and NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health, Leslie Williams to gain the appointment of a specialist nurse in this region, and we are delighted with the outcome.

We wish Rachael a very warm welcome and hope that her work in Port Macquarie will be satisfying and rewarding for her as it will be enormously beneficial for us.