Kathy’s contribution is loud and clear

A TAMWORTH audiometry clinical nurse consultant has been named as the city’s Queen’s Birthday Honours recipient.

Kathy Challinor has been honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the general division for service to nursing in the field of audiometry.

Mrs Challinor worked in the Hunter New England Local Health District from 1985 until her retirement in October 2012.

During that time she has been the chairwoman for the New England Region Aboriginal Otitis Media Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the Australian College of Nursing and a course developer for audiometry training for TAFE and the Australian College of Nursing.

Since 1985, Mrs Challinor was the manager for the NSW Rural Noise Injury Prevention Program with Farmsafe Australia and a member of their local groups, as well as serving on many other deafness and audiometry forums.

The farmers hearing testing program has been running at AgQuip for 30 years.

“The research we’ve done from that is the only research in the world that shows that what we have done has decreased the degree of hearing loss in farmers,” she said.

One of her greatest achievements, she said, was setting up the newborn screening in Tamworth.

HELPING US HEAR: Retired Tamworth audiometry nurse Kathy Challinor.  040614GOD01

HELPING US HEAR: Retired Tamworth audiometry nurse Kathy Challinor. 040614GOD01

“Highlights from my career have included the farmers’ hearing program and setting up the newborn screening in the northern part of Hunter New England Health,” she said.

“With my teaching role, I’m teaching other nurses the skills so they can do what I’ve done right across Australia. I’ve really enjoyed just testing hearing and seeing kids.”

Mrs Challinor said the honour being bestowed upon her was validation nurses could do audiometry and do it well.

“I’m overwhelmed and it’s humbling,” she said.

“It’s validation we can enter into a field that was previously the domain of audiologists and we can fill the gap. I’ve loved the interaction with kids and adults.”

Mrs Challinor said she was “extremely grateful” to the person or organisation that nominated her for the honour.

“I’m aware there are unable to come forward but I’m very honoured that they thought of me,” she said.

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